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Heartbeat Tasmania Inc.

Heart surgery support group


noun: the act of reassuring; restoring someone's confidence

Giving support and reassurance to cardiac patients and carers

It can be stressful (not only for the patient, but also for the family) when informed that surgery or a cardiac procedure is required, whether for valve replacement, bypass surgery, pacemaker, angiography (cardiac catheter), or angioplasty.

Many people have little knowledge of open heart surgery or cardiac procedures. Often there are fears and misconceptions concerning employment, finances and a general inability to adjust.

State of mind, both before and after, plays a large part in eventual recovery. Encouragement and reassurance from ex-patients can often help to ease this stress.

Members of Heartbeat recognise this need and the organisation has Reassurance Officers who are available to help alleviate fears and doubts.

Heartbeat's reassurance program is wholeheartedly supported by the the Royal Hobart Hospital Cardiac Unit's medical and nursing staff, as well as the various cardiac rehab groups around Tasmania.

You can read the interesting history behind our Reassurance work in Tasmania here.

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Reassurance teams

We currently have five reassurance teams, on a rotating roster system, taking turns to provide reassurance to patients about to have cardiac surgery. Each Reassurance Team consists of two members (called Reassurance Officers), each of whom has been either an open-heart surgery patient or a carer of someone who has undergone open-heart surgery.

Each Friday, a Reassurance Team helps run a pre-assessment session at the Royal Hobart Hospital for those patients who have been scheduled for surgery. This is a very valuable and informative session and  carers are encouraged to attend as well. The Reassurance team interacts with the patients and carers, sharing experiences and giving them support, and helping the medical staff by ushering patients to the various tests and appointments with doctors etc.

Each team then makes a short visit to the patients on Ward 2D (the RHH Cardio-Thoracic Unit) on the day of their admission and at various stages before they go home.

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Each team makes a follow-up phone call to patients from the North and Southern areas a couple of weeks after their discharge from hospital and we also have a Reassurance Officer in Ulverstone who does follow-up calls to the patients from the North-West and West Coasts.

We support cardiac rehabilitation programs around the state and visit patients in private hospitals when called upon.

It requires quite a commitment but all our Reassurance Officers find it very rewarding.

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