Cardiovascular Research

Support - Mended Hearts

History

Mended Hearts is a specially trained group of volunteers, with their own personal heart disease experience, who offer support, education, information and advocacy to cardiac patients while in the hospital, assisting with the patient's emotional recovery, and helping the patient and his/her family approach treatment and recovery with a positive outlook.

A national organization, Chapter 268 has been based at Community Hospital in Munster for more than 10 years, and a satellite chapter was formed in 2005 at St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart.

Since being established, Chapter 268 has made more than 3,300 patient visits to those undergoing invasive procedures, and more than 2,500 family visits. The chapter expanded its offerings to include visits to those patients undergoing an intervention in the cardiac catheterization laboratory, as well as family members. Those visits have totaled more than 4,600. Congestive heart failure patients also receive counsel and follow-up, and, telephone calls of support and encouragement are received by all.

Mission

To "inspire hope in heart disease patients and their families."

Special Events

Mended Hearts Chapter 268 holds monthly support group meetings for members, heart patients, and their families. Programs of social and educational interest are presented with topics varying from new medical techniques to exercise, diet, and lifestyle. A second component of the Mended Hearts organization is the visiting program. The group also operates a fund raising effort, allowing them to make material and monetary donations to the hospitals, such as a Doppler ultrasound machine to detect peripheral arterial disease, and yearly scholarships for students pursuing medical careers.

Advice

Because Mended Hearts is made up of the very kinds of people it serves-heart patients, their family members, and others impacted by heart disease, members draw on personal experience as they help others. The group helps people understand that there can be a rich, rewarding life after heart disease. Members listen, share their experiences, learn from healthcare professionals and volunteer to talk to other heart patients about what they may face including lifestyle changes, depression, recovery, and treatment. Heart failure patient Lisa Kirincic knows firsthand how comforting it can be to talk with someone in similar circumstances. "When I had a bad episode and was scared to be by myself, I would have liked someone to be there to tell me it was going to be alright - that I'd be okay. My doctors would tell me that, but then I got to thinking, 'How would they know? That's never happened to them!"

How to Get Involved

Mended Hearts Chapter 268, based at Community Hospital, meets at 7 p.m. the third Wednesday of every month at Fitness Pointe® 219-934-2830 or 836-4526, or the third Tuesday of each month at 4 p.m. at St. Mary Medical Center, 219-947-6085.

People Might Be Surprised to Know

Mended Hearts motto is "It is Great to be alive, and help others."