Rehabilitation services designed to keep patients well and prevent their hospital re-admission is key to reducing the incidence and cost of recurring heart attacks or strokes. However, lack of patient participation in rehabilitation programmes and adherence to medication are two of the biggest barriers in secondary prevention of CVD that must be addressed.
This is according to a white paper “The Cost of Inaction: Secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease in Asia-Pacific” released in Jun 2020 by leading public policy commentator The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). An analysis was conducted to explore the policy response to managing secondary cardiovascular events in eight Asia-Pacific economies — Australia, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand – and these are some of the key findings:
Patients who have experienced a heart attack or stroke carry 30% higher risk of another event over the ensuing four years. Furthermore, two in three stroke survivors experience disabilities, such as paralysis or loss of vision. As a result, survivors may be unable to work or study, and may require the support of family members. This can pull family caregivers away from employment, training or education. As such, CVD-related disability can disrupt households and threaten family stability.
Cardiac rehabilitation involving multidisciplinary CVD management plans that combines exercise, education and behaviour modification have been shown to significantly improve patient outcomes. Empowering patients through education and awareness may help to overcome the various barriers to attendance participation in cardiac rehabilitation across the region.
– Mr Vernon Kang, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Heart Foundation
Singapore Heart Foundation runs three Heart Wellness Centres in the community, providing heavily subsidised, structured Phase 3 and Phase 4 cardiac rehabilitation for recovering heart patients and at-risk individuals.