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Cardiac Rehabilitation Facility unveiled at Cape Hospital

By Staff | Jun 29, 2016

Cape Coral has long been known as the second largest city, area-wise, in the state of Florida. In recent years, the city has become the largest base of residents of any Lee County community.

For years, Cape Coral Hospital served the Cape Coral area and was originally separate from the Lee Memorial Health System until it was taken under the Lee Memorial umbrella. LMHS has recognized the need in Cape Coral for specialized services for local residents, helping them to have quick access and avoid long drives over the bridge to get anything but the basic hospital services.

Many changes have been made over the past few years to benefit the citizens of Cape Coral, and those on Pine Island and Matlacha, and Cape Coral Hospital is now on the cutting edge of improvements in health care that will be expanded to other hospitals in the system.

Last Thursday, June 16, the new Gunterberg Charitable Foundation Culliton Family Cardiac Rehabilitation Facility was unveiled at the hospital. Carol Rae Culliton; her son, Alan Culliton; and grandson, Charles; along with her husband, Richard Metzger, were there to unveil the facility name and get to know the staffers who were enthusiastic about their new unit and are proud that they had been part of the process as they had a lot of input in the design and needs of this unit from the staff and patient point of view.

The Gunterberg Charitable Foundation Culliton Family Trust funded the addition to Cape Coral Hospital. As spokesperson for the family, it is easy to see Carol Rae Culliton’s passion and enthusiasm for this project and others that her family foundation has spearheaded. Splitting their time between their homes in Chicago and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the Culliton family has contributed to the wellbeing of many, many individuals in those towns they have homes.

Culliton shared why she felt a need for her family foundation to contribute the funds for this new unit.

“We have owned a home here in Cape Coral for seven years but are only here part-time,” she said. “Sometimes when you are part-time you can see things easier. Our foundation’s two areas of focus are health and hunger. When we see a problem, the foundation tries to address that and see if there is a solution or way the foundation can help.

“In speaking to the hospital, I saw that there was a strong need for cardiac care in Cape Coral,” she continued. “Having sponsored or built hospitals and cardiovascular institutes in both Chicago and Pennsylvania, when we saw that there was nothing in this area, we felt we should do something about it. Residents should not have to travel across the bridge. We saw this as a big need and thought it should be fulfilled.”

This facility is geared as a core component of the continuum of care for patients who have experienced specific heart problems, including stable angina, coronary artery angioplasty or stent, heart attack, heart surgery, a history of heart failure or patients with heart transplants.

A fully comprehensive program consisting of individualized treatment plans is available, including assessment evaluation of personal risk factors, beginning and maintaining a personalized exercise plan, healthy heart nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight, stress management and wellbeing and education and support to make healthy lifestyle changes. This also includes support and monitoring of other health-related areas such as blood pressure/lipids/cholesterol, diabetes, medication compliances and improved communication with health care providers and physicians, and a support system with other patients.

The new facility will alleviate long wait times to begin the program and capacity issues that were being experienced in the previous area that was shared with the pulmonary rehabilitation program, and will allow for future growth and expansion. It is designed to create an optimal healing experience, which was taken into consideration with the planning of the unit. With 4,000 square feet of area and a bank of windows overlooking the healing garden, it includes an exercise floor with state-of-the-art exercise equipment inside a 120-foot track. There are locker rooms with showers for men and women, consulting rooms, staff offices and a peaceful reflection room, where patients and staff can go and sit in a quiet environment with soothing art to view from a comfortable lounge chair. There is a central monitoring station, where a nurse can view the vitals for all patients attached to each patient.

Special flooring provides sound absorption and easier walking and a fully integrated AV system provides soothing music. The combination of these elements and others will contribute to an optimal healing environment and have a positive effect on the patient and staff experience.

A modest family, the Cullitons are down to earth. Carol Rae shared that she was raised and has raised her son Adam, that when you see a problem, you don’t sit around, you do something about it, whether it is with funds or volunteering time or talent. Grandson Charles is already being exposed and part of the family foundation so that a new generation can carry forth the family tradition of giving.

Scott Kashman, CEO of Cape Coral Hospital, has been responsible for many of the positive changes that the hospital has gone through the last few years. He is an advocate of getting the employees involved in the planning and implementation of the departments, since they know their patients and what works and he has continued that practice with the direction of the new Cardiac Rehabilitation Facility.

“I think for us at Cape Coral Hospital, we get a chance to expand much needed cardiac services in our community promoting healthier lifestyles and creating a state of the art cardiac rehabilitation center,” he said. “The center is considered an outpatient service allowing people to maintain a healthier lifestyle on the hospital campus. Cape Coral Hospital will continue to expand its campus on the 43 acres and serve the community in health wellness and wellbeing with focus on an optimal healing environment. The Cardiac Rehabilitation Facility enhances this vision of a wellness campus serving people with its’ hospital outpatient services, therapy, wellness center and child care center. Taking a model like Epcot, where you can travel the world connected by a body of water – Cape Coral Hospital wants to be a resource to the community serving people whether they need hospital, outpatient or wellness services. This is a reflection of health care today and what health care is evolving to. We want this campus to be a model that other health care systems can look to locally and around the country – as newer Lee Memorial Health Systems are coming in place, they are concentrating and focus on wellness and prevention and the new cardiac center is another asset of the system that allows us to focus on our patients in an outpatient capacity.”

In closing, Carol Rae said, “I have so much respect for Scott and his commitment to the hospital. Cape Coral Hospital is underutilized and they have a great facility and staff. You shouldn’t have to cross the bridge at this time if you have something in your own neighborhood, why would you have to go somewhere else? Our family has been blessed and we hope that by sharing that blessing, we can help make a positive impact on the communities we live in.”