A Study of the Motivational Mechanisms of Cardiac Rehabilitation Patients
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Background: Cardiac rehabilitation is an ever growing field that provides patients the opportunity to regain function following a cardiac event or diagnosis. These programs vary in patient care and practices, and the effectiveness of these programs is clearly documented. However, there is little documented research involving the motivations of patient behaviors that influence the effectiveness of these services. Method: 14 (10 male and 4 female ages 60.5 ± 11.6 years) current cardiac rehabilitation patients who had a formal diagnosis of coronary artery disease were interviewed using a set of open-ended interview questions in a behavioral-based interview. Results: Participants associated their personal success under three mechanisms: a sense of improved personal wellbeing, positive social environment, and perceived safety. Having observable indications of improvement gave patients an objective visualization of their progress. This allowed patients to gauge their own self improvement, thus leading to motivation. In order to create a positive social atmosphere, interactions between patient-patient and patient-therapist must be created. By observing other patient's success, and with constant support through staff interactions, patients are able to find confidence within themselves and with the recovery process. Lastly, patients needed to believe that they were in the safest possible environment in order to have the self-assurance to push themselves beyond what they believed their own personal limits were. By monitoring patients, either with an electrocardiogram monitor or by staff presence, patients felt a sense of increase physical safety which allowed them to focus on healing. Conclusion: There is always room for improvement, however patients that were interviewed found this program to be fully adequate for their personal healing processes. The research concluded that current thought processes behind current treatments are more than sufficient in being able to rehabilitate patients after a cardiac event. Further research regarding improved in-patient and maintenance phases may be considered to further understand motivations for beginning and continuing after a monitored phase respectively.