Barriers to Cardiac Patients Returning to Work: Program Planning Guidelines for Social Workers in Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation Programs

Anne Powers, Augsburg College


The purpose of this study is to explore barriers to cardiac patients under the age of 65 in returning to their jobs following cardiac events and create program planning guidelines based on the findings. Reasons why patients do not return to work noted in the literature include job stress, anxiety and depression, cardiac invalidism, and/or physical limitations. Former outpatient cardiac rehabilitation patients were surveyed as well as professionals who work in hospitals or clinics with cardiac patients to assess barriers to returning to work following a cardiac event and how outpatient cardiac rehabilitation programs can assist patients in returning to work. Findings show 94% of the respondents returned to work after their cardiac event (n=17). However, cardiac patients may experience psycho-social problems which delay return to work including depression, job stress, and cardiac invalidism which supports social work involvement in outpatient cardiac rehabilitation programs.