Healthy changes for local rehab facility

Bob Bevis, in the maintenance program at CAPRI Heart and Lung Institute, rides a Schwinn bike. - Courtesy photo
Bob Bevis, in the maintenance program at CAPRI Heart and Lung Institute, rides a Schwinn bike.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

This summer brings growth and change to CAPRI Heart and Lung Institute.

Additions include two staff members, $35,000 for the scholarship fund, three AEDs (Automatic External Defibrillators) and five recumbent (seated) cross trainers.

CAPRI Heart and Lung Institute opened in September 1978 in the Olympic College gym and is a cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program. CAPRI is the only program of its type in Kitsap County, and is one of four pulmonary programs in Western Washington. In April 2006, CAPRI hired Diana George as executive director with the intention of using George’s experience to help get the word out about CAPRI.

“Because it (CAPRI) has such a great success rate, they wanted to get it out there,” George said.

George worked in a lab for 12 years, was the program and fitness coordinator for Bremerton Senior Center, worked in advertising and marketing for four years, is an actress on the side and also has recreational background in dancing and choreography.

“I’ve also taught seniors ballet dancing and tap dancing,” George said.

Last year, according to George, CAPRI expanded their cardiac program and added classes in Bremerton and Poulsbo.

“Starting June 19, we now have the pulmonary program in all three sites,” she said.

CAPRI welcomes two new staff members, program coordinator Karol Stevens and RN Valerie Grahn.

Besides enhancing its grant writing program, CAPRI received its biggest donation — $35,000 — from United Way in April.

“That money actually goes as a scholarship fund,” George said. “That’s what the United Way money helps us with.”

Because CAPRI doesn’t turn patients away because of an inability to pay or lack of insurance, the scholarship fund covers those patients.

CAPRI also received $25,000 in April from the Boeing Employee Fund, which helped them purchase the three AEDs and five recumbent cross trainers.

The Silverdale Rotary donated $3,000 in June.

“We will be purchasing a recumbent bike with that,” George said.

“We found out in June that we are the recipient of the funds for the KPS Charitable Giving Committees Golf Tournament,” she added.

Despite these generous donations, CAPRI still needs $100,000 because its telemetry system, which electronically monitors patients, is not HIPAA compliant.

CAPRI depends heavily on fund-raising because medical reimbursements cover only 70 percent of costs.

“Last year, we had 423 non-repeating patients for 14,786 visits,” George said.

After a patient is referred to CAPRI, they start what George described as, “Phase two.”

“We basically help guide them into a lifestyle change so hopefully we don’t see them again,” she said.

After an initial evaluation, patients work with an exercise specialist three times a week for one hour of aerobics and weights and half an hour of education about their disease, medication, reading grocery labels, nutrition and diet. During their exercise sessions, patients are hooked up to monitors to keep track of how they’re doing. Patients usually come in for 36 cardiac sessions or 18 pulmonary sessions.

With an 85 percent success rate in increasing longevity, CAPRI helps patients recover from their disease and make lifestyle changes to keep them healthy.

“Part of what brings you here is at least 30 percent have never exercised. We really have to individualize our exercise programs,” George explained.

CAPRI also has a maintenance program for $50 per month to help patients maintain the lifestyle changes they made during Phase Two.

Because patients spend so much time at the facility, CAPRI is more than just a rehab program.

“One of the really neat things that comes out of Capri is it’s a really great support group,” George said. “(The patients) really joined by that episode in their lives. They become a real tight-knit family.”

Fifty percent of CAPRI patients lose weight, many are able to decrease their medication and a small percentage of pulmonary patients are able to get off their oxygen tanks.

George’s favorite aspect of working for CAPRI is the patients.

“The patients are really a pleasure to get to know. And we really get to know them,” she said. “To be able to see our patients step back out into a normal life is very exciting. They are the success story and we have the pleasure of giving them the information so they can take it and go.”

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