"Start a support group," said Dr. Dwight E. Harkin over 50 years ago.....
Visiting Program Purpose
The visiting program of the Mended Hearts, Inc. is an organized activity that provides quality support and encouragement to heart patients and their families through visits from trained, accredited volunteers who are members of the Mended Hearts Inc.organization.
Visiting Program Scope
All operations of Mended Hearts, at all levels, serve to support the patient and family visiting program for all types of heart disease and treatment.
- To visit, with physician approval, and to offer encouragement and support to heart disease patients and their families.
- To distribute information of specific educational value to members of the Mended Hearts, Inc. and to heart disease patients and their families.
- To establish and maintain a program of assistance to physicians, nurses, medical professionals and health care organizations in their work with heart disease patients and their families.
- To cooperate with other organizations in education and research activities pertaining to heart disease.
- To assist established heart disease rehabilitation programs for members and their families.
- To plan and conduct suitable programs of social and educational interest for members, and for heart disease patients and their families.
Been there and done that...
Mended Hearts members know what is like to discover you have heart disease and require surgery or another less invasive procedure. We've 'been there, done that'. Our members understand the anxiety and concerns and we want to help. Our Mended Hearts motto is 'It's great to be alive and to help others'. One of the key ways we help others is through our visiting program.
To be a visitor, Mended Hearts members must undergo a three-hour training session and must be reaccredited every year. Visitors are not allowed to give medical advice, but they do encourage every patient to participate in cardiac rehabilitation. With patient confidentiality, it is difficult to get visitors in to see heart patients, but Mended Hearts has a visiting chairman. Every afternoon, he or she calls Riverside Regional Medical Center (RRMC) and obtains an operating room schedule as well as the type of surgery that is scheduled. The chairman calls accredited visitors and assigns them to the respective room numbers of the scheduled patients. Visitors then talk to patients and their families, before and after surgery. Mended Hearts provides informational packets to give to patients. These packets, called PATH Paks, are approved by the hospital and the cardiac physician, and contain information from the American Heart Association about the surgery or procedure along with other information that will assist the patient on their 'PATH' to recovery.
Mended Hearts members see anywhere from three to 10 patients a week. All of our visitors are Riverside Hospital Volunteers, many of whom staff the voluneer desk outside the ICU/CSICU waiting room. Want to learn more about this volunteer opportunity? Click here..
Upon their initial recovery from cardiac surgery, patients are given a heart pillow to hold against their chests when they cough and move. "It's kind of a security blanket," says Richard Taylor, past chapter president. Patty Swan now heads up the chapter Heart Pillow program. Take a look at the Heart Pillow page to learn more about this program.
Interested in helping?
Contact our Visiting Chairman.