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at risk, cardiac rehabilitation, collaboration, home care, hospitalization, information technology, myocardial infarction, network of care, patient education, self-help groups, social integration, support



  1. Robinson, Karen R. PhD, RN, FAAN


Myocardial infarction (MI) continues to be a significant health care issue because of its prevalence. As treatment options improve the survival rate, an increasing number of individuals have to learn how to adjust to this major life event and prevent recurrence. Recovery can be difficult. Many patients experience emotional distress, fear of dying, and family turmoil, fail to return to work when physiologically capable of doing so, are unable to return to their previous levels of sexual activity, and are not capable of making the necessary diet and exercise changes. Acute management strategies continue to be aimed at limiting the infarct size, whereas holistic approaches to the patient and family adjustment must target seeking prompt treatment when symptoms present, psychologic adjustment, stress reduction, and patient and family education for self-care and risk reduction. As hospital length of stay for acute MI decreases, health care professionals must provide an interdisciplinary, collaborative approach to ensure that the at-risk MI patient is provided all of the information and support needed to lead a satisfying, productive, healthy life. An excellent way for nurses to not only address this challenge, but to lead the effort, would be to develop a network of care for the at-risk MI patient.