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Specially trained volunteers, with their own personal heart disease experience, 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. 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.
A national organization, Chapter 268 has been based at Community Hospital in Munster since 1995.
In its 12 years of service, 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.
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.
New members are welcome. Meetings are held 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month at Community Hospital Fitness Pointe®. For more information, call Steve at 219-659-6446.