Cardiac Rehab Participant Joan Devito is First in Class

December 20, 2016

Providence health Northeast celebrating its first Cardiac Rehab Graduate Joan Devito
Providence Health Northeast celebrating its first Cardiac Rehab Graduate -- Joan Devito

A Graduate of Health and Wellness

On December 1, 2016, Joan Devito was the first cardiac rehab graduate from Providence Health Northeast. The staff of exercise physiologists and nurses sang, clapped and presented her with a certificate of achievement. It was a celebration of her true rewards: health, comfort and mobility, and longevity. “This is going to help me reach my goal – to have my face on a Smucker’s jar,” said Miss Joan referencing the promotion Smucker’s does to celebrate those who turn 100.  

That goal isn’t exactly brought her to Providence Health Northeast, though.  Joan had a triple bypass four years ago followed by pneumonia. In 2016, she subsequently developed chest pain and had a heart catheterization. At that point, her cardiologist Dr. Norma Khoury recommended she do cardiac rehab for a diagnosis of stable angina.

A new campus opens.

Joan reached out to Providence in July to ask if she could hold off on rehab until after her vacation in August. She was told that, in September, they would be opening a new facility in Northeast Columbia, closer to her home. She would be the first participant. “She was so excited,” said her daughter Susie, “and I was so happy she wouldn’t have to drive back and forth to the city three times a week. This is so convenient for people on this side of town.”

Joan began the program on September 1 and spent the next several weeks fulfilling the requirements of graduation: complete 36 sessions or 12 weeks of exercise while progressing in the number of minutes and intensity.  She also attended educational classes to compliment the exercise.

“Our goal is to give people lasting improvement,” says Jenny Ard, Senior Charge Nurse who oversees the program. “We want our members to do more than get healthy and strong… we want them to stay healthy and strong.”

The program succeeded at improving Joan’s strength and stamina. Aside from just feeling great, she said she doesn’t get out of breath as much. She can walk further and do more.

First in class!

Miss Joan’s hard work was celebrated on December 1, when she became the first graduate of Providence Health Northeast’s cardiac rehab program.  “Work” may not be the right word, though.

“I enjoyed it so much. It’s like a family-type atmosphere here. Everyone is so nice and the staff is unbelievable. I looked forward to coming every time.”

“We joked and laughed and had a good time here, me and the five guys,” said Joan turning to face three other members who came to celebrate her success. “Two of them couldn’t make it today and I’m sad because I wanted to see them. It really does feel like family, you know?”

Post-Grad... for fun?

Fortunately, graduation doesn’t have to mean goodbye. Joan can continue to see her friends in fitness here and exercise under the guidance of the Providence Cardiac Rehab team as long as she’d like. “I do think I’m gonna come back on my own,” she said, “I got that Smuckers goal, and these guys are helping me get there.”

Soon she’ll be one step closer. Her 84th birthday is on the horizon, even though she certainly doesn’t look it. “That’s because I do all this stuff!” said Joan. She points to her exercise physiologist Julie Rieger and nurse Jenny. “And they help me do it.” 

ADD ON: Joan felt so much better doing the program that her daughter bought her 6 months more of membership for Christmas. "I'm excited to go back!" said Joan. 

For more information about cardiac rehab at Providence Health, click here or call 803-256-5463.