Thomas Ganz considers himself lucky to have survived heart valve replacement surgery 15 years ago and a pacemaker implantation more recently.
He takes 4 types of medications every day and has got into the habit of exercising regularly to manage his condition.
But as he turns 81 this year, he attributes his ability to manage his heart condition more to the various treatments he received than just to luck.
“I’m just a typical example of someone who survived through modern medicine. I probably would have been dead 15 years ago otherwise,” he says. “And exercise is helping me.”
Doctors saw exercise as a critical part of managing Thomas’ condition so they referred him to St Vincent’s cardiac rehab program about a year ago.
He was looked after by a number of our physiotherapists who helped him with his course of Cardiopulmonary Rehab at St Vincent’s Community Rehabilitation Centre in Kew.
“They are very professional and they got me going,” he says.
Mark Tran is a St Vincent’s exercise rehab physiotherapist. He managed Thomas’ exercise regime and says it is important for people like Thomas to take control once they have the necessary skills.
“After completing the exercise rehab course we designed for him, Thomas was introduced to his local Kew recreation gym,” Mark says.
“We have now established a pathway for people who have successfully completed rehab to be transitioned into a community gym setting to help them to develop a life-long exercise habit.
“I also see this as a real benefit for the health system: if people with chronic conditions who frequently present to hospital can be engaged in the long term by a recreation facility, this puts less pressure on our acute hospital system.”
Thomas now goes to his local gym 3 times a week and says not only does he enjoy exercising there, he has found his participation in his own community to be very beneficial to his emotional health as well.