The impact of cardiovascular disease can be overwhelming, and often cardiovascular events that require hospitalization or treatment can be life-changing. While proper medical care is critical, sometimes the calming touch or encouraging words of a person who has survived the same ordeal can be a major source of reassurance for someone in crisis. That idea is at the cornerstone of the volunteer program for regional cardiac services.
Within our program, we pair cardiac patients with volunteers who have been cardiac patients themselves.
That's right — every one of our volunteers has been a former cardiac patient. They must have experienced a cardiac event first-hand, whether it is a heart attack, angiogram, angioplasty, heart bypass, orcardiac rehabilitation program at our cardiac centre or at another facility.
The role of the volunteers is not to provide medical advice, but to offer comfort from the perspective of someone who has already been there. Here are the areas our volunteers support.
Regional cardiac care centre
Whether volunteers are getting a cup of water, a blanket or some food for patients, or sitting with patients and their families as they wait to have a procedure or test completed, volunteers are helping to provide some comfort. Volunteers help to prepare patients for what they can expect that day, helping them to calm their nerves. Volunteers provide information from their own experiences — both as a patient and a volunteer — and they also encourage patients to ask their cardiologists and the rest of the health-care team questions.
Cardiovascular rehabilitation service
Volunteers assist exercise therapists by doing the exercises with current patients, including walking the track. They also provide insights and helpful exercise or lifestyle tips. Patients and volunteers get a chance to talk about their personal experiences with heart disease. Volunteers also encourage patients to ask questions and attend educational classes.
Cardiovascular rehab volunteers support classes at our various community-based sites across the region.
If you have been a cardiac patient and are interested in volunteering with us, we would love to hear from you!
To volunteer at the regional cardiac care centre, please call the volunteer services office at Scarborough and Rouge Hospital's Centenary site where the cardiac centre is located at 416-281-7316.
To volunteer at one our community-based regional cardiovascular rehabilitation sites, please call the program at 1-855-448-5471 or 416-281-7022.