North Shore (09) 486 8900
Waitakere (09) 839 0000

Cardiac Rehabilitation & Education

Welcome to Cardiac Rehabilitation


The spheres represent the members of the cardiology team and how each one is an integral part of fulfilling the visions and missions of Waitemata DHB cardiology *

Waitematā DHB serves a large and diverse community, providing health care for the largest population in the country.

The cardiology departments at North Shore and Waitakere hospitals treat more than a thousand people every year who have had a heart attack/event.

The treatment you receive in hospital is the first step in lifelong management of your heart disease. When you are discharged from hospital, we want you to get well and stay well.

The Waitematā DHB Cardiac Rehabilitation team can help you with this by offering support, advice and education about lifestyle changes that can improve quality of life for you, as well as your family/whānau.

If you have had a heart / cardiac event, actively taking part in cardiac rehabilitation can help lower your risk of having another heart event and help reduce the risk of you being admitted to hospital again.

* Painting by Laurice Martin (Cardiology Registered Nurse at Lakeview Cardiology, North Shore Hospital) who has kindly given permission for her art design to be reproduced here.

A heart / cardiac event is a heart attack, having treatments like a heart stent procedure or having coronary artery bypass surgery because of blocked heart arteries (coronary artery disease in medical terms).

A heart / cardiac event also includes Takotsubo (broken heart syndrome) or spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) (when your heart artery has a tear in it).

Cardiac = heart
Rehabilitation = restoring someone to health

Cardiac rehabilitation (cardiac rehab for short) helps you to recover after a cardiac event.

Each person who has been through one of these events has a different recovery journey. Cardiac rehab gives you and your family/whānau information, advice and support so that you can get back to your normal everyday life and activities.

Cardiac rehab is as important to your long-term treatment as taking your medications are. Studies have shown that cardiac rehab has a positive impact on your wellbeing and quality of life and can reduce the risk of you having another cardiac event.

Cardiac rehab can help you with:

  • understanding your heart disease
  • finding ways to make changes to your lifestyle that will help improve your heart health
  • lowering your risk of another heart event
  • support for the psychological impact of having had a heart event and living with heart disease
  • getting your confidence back to return to your normal life activities

To find out more about heart attacks or coronary artery disease visit the NZ Heart Foundation website.

Taking part in cardiac rehab can help your heart recover and help you regain control of your health.

Cardiac rehab focuses mainly on recovery of heart events caused by blocked heart arteries (coronary artery disease in medical terms).

The cardiac rehab team will help you identify your risk factors that have contributed to your coronary artery disease. These risk factors increase your chance of having another heart event. There are many risk factors for developing heart disease. Each person is different and has individual risk factors, but here are some examples of risk factors:

  • Smoking
  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Being overweight


These are all things you can do something about to reduce your risk of another heart event and help protect your heart for the future. The cardiac rehab team will give you the information and support to make lifestyle changes to enable you to do this. 

Your risk of getting coronary artery disease also depends on other factors, such as your age, family history, sex and ethnicity. You can’t do anything about these, however by making lifestyle changes to control other risk factors can still benefit your heart health.

After a heart event it is normal to feel anxious or worried. Your family may also be worried about you. Talking to someone can help you feel less anxiety. The cardiac rehab nurses can offer you and your family reassurance and support if you need someone to talk to.

It is important, that if you continue to feel anxious or have a low mood that you talk to your GP who can refer you for additional counselling services.

The cardiac rehab team will encourage you to attend cardiac rehab heart education classes. Attending one of these programmes has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression and can improve your confidence so that you can return to your normal everyday activities more quickly.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Education Classes

Our Cardiac Rehabilitation classes are cancelled for the remainder of 2020 due to the uncertainty of the COVID situation. We are working on a new format and programe for the education classes next year and will publish these when ready.

Please note that the programmes below are an example of the 2020 class programme to give you an idea of what is covered in the education sessions.


Cardiac RehabAt North Shore and Waitakere hospitals there are both day and evening cardiac rehab programmes / education classes.

The classes are structured in blocks and held throughout the year. While you are in hospital your nurses will give you information about the classes and the class programme. 

The cardiac rehab programme is mainly aimed at people with coronary artery disease who have had a heart attack, a heart stent procedure or heart bypass surgery. However, anyone who has had heart valve surgery or who has Takotsubo (broken heart syndrome) or spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) (a tear in the heart artery) is welcome to attend as well. We encourage you to bring a family member or support person with you.

The aim of the classes is to give you information, support and confidence to help you make healthy lifestyle choices. This can help you reduce your risk of another heart event and improve your quality of life. 

The education sessions are presented by different experts. The sessions are informal, and you are welcome to ask questions.

You will meet other people who have been through the same event as you and this can be helpful for you. The cardiac rehab nurses facilitate the classes and are available to talk to if you have any questions or concerns about your recovery.

Cardiac Rehab Programme - North Shore Hospital Cardiac Rehab Programme - Waitakere Hospital

The education sessions cover the following topics:

  • Understanding coronary artery disease.
  • Understanding your heart medications
  • Education about heart healthy eating
  • Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) demonstration (day class only)
  • Advanced care planning – planning for your future health needs
  • Information about Stress – how it affects your heart and some ideas to help you manage stress
  • Education about the benefits of exercise for heart health

The Cardiac Rehab Nurse Specialists facilitate the classes. Presenters include Cardiologists, Pharmacists, Dieticians, Physiotherapists, a Social Worker and an Advanced Care Planning expert.

We also have representatives from the Heart Foundation, Green Prescription and Auckland University of Technology (AUT) cardiac rehab exercise programme who do a short presentation at some of the sessions.

Our speakers volunteer their time and expertise and sometimes they are not available to attend the classes. If this happens, you will not miss out on their session, the cardiac rehab nurse specialists will present their session.

No, you don’t need a referral to come to the classes. The ward nurse will explain the classes to you when you are in hospital. We would like you to call or email us a week before the start of the class to book in, so that we know how many people to expect. We may send a text reminder the week before the first class of the block.

For bookings, concerns or questions please contact our Cardiac Rehab Nurses:
Ph:     486 1491 ext. 43167
Mob: 021 719 733 (NSH)
             021 196 0745 (WTK)

Yes, there is no age limit to attend the classes and we encourage you to attend.

The classes are free to attend.

There is a parking fee at a discounted rate of $5 for the whole session. A parking warden will visit the class to take payment (EFTPOS only).

Yes, we strongly encourage you to bring a friend or family member who will be supporting you with your recovery and healthy living. They might benefit from the information as well.

Don’t worry if you attend on your own; you may find other people on their own as well.

Yes, you should still attend the classes if you are able to. It can be difficult to change your lifestyle habits if you do not feel supported by your family. You may find it helpful to explain to them that you are going to the classes to learn how to lower your risk of another heart event, and how to stay healthy for yourself as well as for your family.

Your family members are welcome to call the cardiac rehab nurses if they have any questions about the education classes.

Yes, you can. However, we do advise attending all the sessions to get the maximum benefit.

Yes, the night classes do not include the cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) session, otherwise the sessions cover the same topics.

No, there is no difference. Both hospital sites have the same sessions.

Yes, you can. The information is aimed at people who have had heart attacks or blockages in their heart arteries. However, a lot of information is about healthy lifestyle and healthy living, which will benefit anyone with other heart problems such as those who have had heart valve surgery.

What Our Patients Say

"I have been to the talks after my bypass and returned several more times througout the year" - Jim"The session helped me understand my medication better" - Fala"I found the classes very worthwhile and a really positive experience that I am now using to promote to others" - Trent"The length of the sessions was just right. They were cheery and well presented" - Paulo"Credit to all the speakers" - Moana"I am most grateful for the heart recovery talks" - Mike

"My husband understands his heart attack much more now" - Tina"Thank you for the classes. I have come on my own but made new acquintances" - Anne

 If you would like to give feedback about the cardiac rehab heart education classes please submit a feedback form.

Contact Us

For bookings, concerns or questions please contact our Cardiac Rehab Nurses:
Ph:       486 1491 ext. 43167
Mob:   021 199 2136 (NSH)
              021 196 0745 (WTK)

Cardiac Rehab Nurses

Elaine Crighton, Patricia Woodard, Jo Hewlett - Cardiology Nurse Specialists


Find out more about the cardiac rehabilitation team here.



The following websites have regularly updated information regarding heart disease (coronary artery disease) and cardiac rehabilitation:


Cardiac rehab exercise programme: