Awareness of and enrollment in outpatient cardiac rehabilitation (OCR) following a cardiac event or procedure remain suboptimal. Thus, it is important to identify new approaches to improve these outcomes. The objectives of this study were to identify (1) the contributions of a patient navigation (PN) intervention and other patient characteristics on OCR awareness; and (2) the contributions of OCR awareness and other patient characteristics on OCR enrollment among eligible cardiac patients up to 12 weeks posthospitalization.METHODS:
In this randomized controlled study, 181 eligible and consenting patients were assigned to either PN (n = 90) or usual care (UC; n = 91) prior to hospital discharge. Awareness of OCR was assessed by telephone interview at 12 weeks posthospitalization, and OCR enrollment was confirmed by staff at collaborating OCR programs. Of the 181 study participants, 3 died within 1 month of hospital discharge and 147 completed the 12-week telephone interview.RESULTS:
Participants in the PN intervention arm were nearly 6 times more likely to have at least some awareness of OCR than UC participants (OR = 5.99; P = .001). Moreover, participants who reported at least some OCR awareness were more than 9 times more likely to enroll in OCR (OR = 9.27, P = .034) and participants who were married were less likely to enroll (P = .031).CONCLUSIONS:
Lay health advisors have potential to improve awareness of outpatient rehabilitation services among cardiac patients, which, in turn, can yield greater enrollment rates in a program.