Who are we?

The Island Heart to Heart (IH2H) program operated under the auspices of the non-profit Victoria Cardiac Rehabilitation Society (VCRS), is an educational and support program for cardiac patients and their partners. It requires 7 weekly meetings.  Its purpose is to assist participants with recovery from cardiovascular disease, such as angina and/or a heart attack, and from procedures such as angioplasty, stents and open-heart surgery. Information and support is also provided to those who are at high risk for developing cardiac disease.

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 three cardiologists, she started the program here and was the coordinator, facilitator, and spokesperson for the program until 1993 when she recognized the need for a paid coordinator to ensure continuity of this important program.

Starting a cardiac rehabilitation program within 30 days of a heart attack can reduce a personís chance of another heart attack, and cut their risk of dying by 20 to 30% (Heart & Stroke Recovery Road). During the weekly sessions, 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, medications, emergency situations, stress, and the psychosocial aspects of heart disease.

IH2H recognizes the need to involve patients and their partners and supports healthy self-management. All participants are encouraged to ask questions of facilitators, speakers and other attendees. All participants who completed the evaluation forms report the IH2H experience is highly valued and would recommend it to others. Participants consistently report that they gain knowledge and confidence from attending the program, and that their learning in an environment of positive group support enhances their recovery.

VCRS acts as a Board for the IH2H program securing support from our major sponsor - Island Health, and assisting the Coordinator by maintaining an ongoing cadre of volunteers.  The Chair of  VCRS is Roger Young. 


      

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2017