“It has been really exciting,” said Sam Thornton, director, Cardiopulmonary Services. “To have it here is really special. There are only about 70 programs like this in the entire state, so to have it here is something we are very proud of.”
In fact, over a year and a half ago Sampson Regional Medical Center officials toured Sampson County hosting community forums to find out what people in the community needed and wanted, a state-of-the-art facility that could treat heart patients was one of the suggestions.
Administrative officials took note and built the new CAPRI (Cardiac And Pulmonary Rehab Institute) building located on 417 Vance St. in Clinton. The building also is home to Sampson Internal Medicine; Sampson Urology Associates; and the Carolina Pain Center.
“This has really been a great service for the community,” said CAPRI therapist Frank Bray. “There have been a lot of folks who needed, not only cardiac, but pulmonary rehab. We have cardiac rehab (at SRMC) for about six years now, but the pulmonary we began last year — that is when everything was combined and called CAPRI. Since then, it has been very helpful for our patients because they don’t have to go out of town to get the healthcare that they need.”
Before CAPRI, patients suffering from pulmonary issues had to travel to Fayetteville, Wilmington or Smithfield. “When a patient has to travel back and forth three days a week, it gets expensive and it gets tiring for them,” said Bray. “We are thrilled to see our patients come in and really be happy about the care they are receiving.”
CAPRI has treatment days three days a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), but the staff is on everyday and has the capacity to see about 50 patients a day.
Two of the program’s participants, Kenneth “Wayne” Williams and Mildred Murphy, both 68, are thrilled to be involved in the program. Murphy, who recently had three stents put in her heart, has been involved with the CAPRI program for two months now. Williams, recently graduated from the pulmonary rehab program and is back — now beginning cardiac rehab program.
“It has just been wonderful,” said Murphy. “I like the fact that it is right here (in town) and I don’t have to go all over to get treated.”
“The staff is the absolute best,” said Williams, who has had two by-pass surgeries, as well as an aneurysm surgery. “I have had a lot of heart problems over the years. I am still having the problems so I am back to try and get myself built back up again and this is the best place for me to be.”
Both Williams and Murphy admit that, at first, they were nervous about coming into the program.
“This staff makes you comfortable and keeps a good check on you,” Williams said. “They were so welcoming and helpful, it just made you feel good to be around.”
“Once you start feeling good, it makes all the difference in the world — that is what they do here,” said Murphy. “When I first started, it was hard for me to breathe, now I don’t have any trouble. I am not short of breath at all now. I am hoping that someone else will read this and it will encourage them to come in and get the help too.”
After treatment, patients also go to a brief education on how to continue exercises and healthily eating to keep their hearts healthy.
“I am getting ready to complete the program,” said Murphy, “and I love it so much, I have already asked if I could come back to stay. I can feel myself getting better and it is great.”
“They have really helped us here,” said Williams, “and I hope that more people come out and discover this program.”
Williams and Murphy, like all patients of CAPRI have separate workout programs — it is done that way for a reason.
“We want to make sure that they are not overworking the heart or overexerting their bodies,” said Bray. “So every patient has a workout that is catered for their specific needs.”
When a patient is on the workout machines, they are closely watched by RN Hilda Sutton, who sits at a monitoring station.
“Each person has their own monitor that is hooked to this system,” she said. “This system allows me to see what they are doing while they are exercising. I can monitor their heart rates and rhythm and if anything occurs, I can catch it instantly.”
And if something were to occur the incredibly trained staff can handle any situation.
“It is a wonderful program,” Sutton said. “To the public it is absolutely great.”
“We want people to know that the program is here and we are just excited about the results we have seen in just a year,” added Bray. “We are just happy to be here.”
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.