heart health

Primary heart disease risk factors

  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes

A heart-to-heart talk with a noted cardiologist about the Sun Health Care Transitions Program and its impact on post-cardiac-event success

No ifs, ands or buts, a cardiac event is very scary.  But as frightening as the initial event can be, after the “old ticker” is back on track, heading home from the hospital can feel like a proverbial sink-or-swim experience … with extraordinarily high stakes.

Indeed, many patients often find themselves wondering which meds to take and when, how often to check their blood pressure, who can answer the questions they don’t want to bother the doctor with, and more.

That’s where the Sun Health Care Transitions Program enters the picture.

Through a partnership with Banner Boswell and Banner Del E. Webb medical centers, physicians and other health care providers, Sun Health’s Care Transitions program helps people with chronic disease learn to better manage their conditions and avoid rehospitalization.

A life-changing event

The most important part of the health care equation is the patient, says cardiologist Manjo Rawal, who is chief of cardiology at Banner Del E. Webb and director of the congestive heart failure and chest pain programs at Banner Boswell.

“A cardiac event – whether a heart attack, congestive heart failure or a procedure such as a bypass – is a life-changing event,” he says.  “It brings the patient to a crossroads in life.  All of this is difficult for most patients to digest and it can be hard for them physically and mentally to accept change.”

Dr. Rawal says that while a patient is in the hospital, they’re given a lot of information about their disease, their treatments, new medications, lifestyle changes that might be needed and more.  “They can go into an information-overload state,” he says.  “Most are still stunned by what’s happening and it can be very overwhelming, especially if they’re older or have limited resources.

A personalized champion

Thanks to the Care Transitions program, the patient has a champion – someone to guide them as they embark on their recovery.

“The Care Transitions nurses and social workers make sure patient medications are appropriate, they will put pills in pillboxes and will help the patient understand the information they’ve been given,” Dr. Rawal says.  “The program has a lot of positive impact by empowering patients to do self-care and take control of their own health.  Plus, it’s free.”

Supporting the program

The Care Transitions program is partially funded by Sun Health Foundation.  To support this or other health programs serving the Northwest Valley, visit sunhealthfoundation.org or call 623-832-5330.


(Originally published March 10, 2017; last updated Jan. 12, 2019.)

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