This program has been delivered in Victoria since 1986 when it was started by a Registered Nurse who was looking for help for her father following cardiac surgery. She knew there were cardiac rehabilitation programs elsewhere and how beneficial they were, so with the help of two cardiologists, she started the program here.
Starting a cardiac rehabilitation program within 30 days of a heart attack can reduce a person’s chance of another heart attack, and cut their risk of dying by 20 to 30%. During the seven classes, participants meet with others who have had similar experiences and have an opportunity to increase their understanding of what has happened to them and to develop coping strategies to sustain or improve their quality of life. They also have an opportunity to gain insights and support from peers. Health-care professionals are brought in as speakers to present material on how the heart works, heart-healthy nutrition, physical activity, cardiac medications, emergency situations, stress, and the psychosocial aspects of heart disease.
All participants are encouraged to ask questions of facilitators, speakers and other attendees. Participants consistently report that they gain knowledge and confidence from attending the program to support their recovery.
The cardiologists of the Royal Jubilee team recommend this program to their patients. The Island Heart to Heart program is grateful for the annual grants from Island Health.