Background: Psychological morbidity after an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is known to be common, but can be addressed by appropriate rehabilitation. The area in which this research was conducted experiences high rates of deprivation and of coronary heart disease and limited access to hospital-based rehabilitation. Responding to concern about psychological needs of AMI patients, a self-help package was introduced and evaluated alongside standard hospital-based cardiac rehabilitation.
Aims: To evaluate the impact of a home-based self-help package (the Heart Manual), alongside existing cardiac rehabilitation provision, on psychological morbidity and health status after AMI. A secondary aim was to assess the suitability of the Heart Manual for older patients aged over 80 years.
Methods: A controlled observational study, comparing two cohorts of patients discharged from hospital after AMI. The intervention group was given the self-help package in addition to standard care. The control group received standard care alone. Outcome measures used were the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the EuroQol.
Results: The intervention group showed significant improvement in anxiety and depression scores after 3 months and nonsignificant improvement in general health status. Patients who attended hospital-based rehabilitation classes, and those aged over 80 years, also benefited from the intervention.
Conclusion: A home-based self-help rehabilitation package is an effective tool alongside hospital-based rehabilitation classes and can be given to all age groups.