Regency employees show support by wearing red

Regency Post-Acute Healthcare System employees recently wore red to show their support in the fight against women's No. 1 killer - heart disease.

Regency Post-Acute Healthcare System participated in the National Wear Red Day with "Go Red for Women."

On Feb. 7 Regency employees wore red to show their support in the fight against women's No. 1 killer - heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined. In fact, the American Heart Association estimates that approximately one woman every minute passes away due to heart disease. Regency partners with 31 skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers across Texas.

It understands that many patients enter facilities with heart problems. Greg Pfahles, the Cardiac Recovery Program coordinator for Windsor Rehab, a Regency affiliate, said about 1 in 5, or 20 percent of skilled nursing patients have heart problems.

Pfahles, a critical care nurse with more than 30 years of experience, is passionate about helping patients who are fighting against heart disease.

"Heart health is important to me. I come from a history of heart disease, and I was a heart patient at one point in my life. When I was younger, I took an early interest in hearts. I knew I wanted to be a heart nurse. Now, not only do I get to help people, but I get the opportunity to educate their family, especially their children about heart disease," said Pfahles.

Regency's affiliated facilities follow an INTERACT Pathway Tool, which helps nurses assess each patient in case something goes wrong with their heart. This program also allows them to communicate efficiently and effectively with each patient's doctor.

Two facilities in Austin, Southpark Meadows Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Windsor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of Duval, developed a unique Cardiac Recovery Program that allows Pfahles and his highly trained team of therapists to check vital signs, monitor the heart, check blood pressure and more. The CritiCare Vital Signs Monitor with its three channel heart monitoring capability, focuses on patients who have congestive heart failure, coronary atherosclerotic disease, cardiomyopathy, peripheral vascular disease and renal disease.

"The Cardiac Recovery Program is basically a critical care pathway for us to monitor and provide doctors with a 'clinical picture' of their patients while they are in our rehabilitation center," said Pfahles. "This is a huge advantage for our patients, especially regarding their safety."

In Pfahles' experience, women can avoid or help prevent future heart problems by changing some of their habits. He suggested not smoking, checking your cholesterol and blood pressure, exercising 30 minutes daily, maintaining a healthy weight and, of course, eating a heart-healthy diet. According to Pfahles and the American Heart Association, women and men have different symptoms when having heart problems. Pfahles also stated that women are less likely to report any chest pains or health problems.

"Preventative care and education are key to dealing with health problems. Since February is American Heart Month, this is a time to spread awareness of the importance of heart health," said Pfahles.