Cardiac Rehabilitation services have been in development in Ireland since the 1970's. Following the implementation of the Building Healthier Hearts programme (launched by DOH&C 1999), the growth of CR services was dramatic. In 1998 CR was available in 29% of hospitals. This had increased to 95% in 2005. Full time equivalent staff numbers went up from 46 to 135 and there was a six fold increase in patients receiving a CR service, from 696 in 1996 to 4210 in 2005 (Delaney et al 2006).
Cardiac Rehab is predominately offered to individuals following acute Myocardial Infarction, Percutaneous Coronary Intervention, Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery and Heart Valve surgery, although evidence now suggests that the programme is very effective for heart failure and peripheral arterial disease patients also. Cardiac Rehabilitation in Ireland is managed by a Cardiac Rehab Co-ordinator in each of the 38 centres who direct patients to services needed and harness resources of the wider hospital and community system. The cardiac rehab co-ordinator works with and is supported by Cardiologists, Physiotherapists, Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Dieticians, Pharmacists, Psychologists and Social Workers.
Unfortunately some cardiac rehabilitation units have suffered cutbacks in recent years. The IACR continues to actively lobby to reverse the cutbacks and proctect cardiac rehabilitation services in Ireland.