Imagine if you have a heart attack and, before you even leave the hospital, you are connected with a WomenHeart support group within the hospital and provided with valuable information and help as you begin recovery. This is the goal of the National Hospital Alliance, a program created by WomenHeart in which hospitals across the country agree to host a WomenHeart Support Network and send up to two volunteers to WomenHeart’s annual Science and Leadership Symposium to be trained as Support Network Coordinators.
Just a couple of weeks ago, 11 of the 17 hospitals from across the country that are members of the National Hospital Alliance sent 15 women to Rochester, Minnesota to receive training at WomenHeart’s 2013 Science and Leadership Symposium at Mayo Clinic. These women volunteers learned about the science of women’s heart disease, had hands-on nutrition classes, and shared their personal stories of heart disease. Coming from California, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Oregon, and South Carolina, they will take their experience in Rochester back home and work with their sponsoring hospital to reach out to women across their communities to help them learn how to live long and heart-healthy lives.
"As manager of volunteers, I have the unique opportunity to witness just how much support from the community can impact the lives of patients. All volunteers do wonderful work, but the ones who have actually lived through a procedure or an illness are able to touch the lives of our patients in the most personal way,” says the Volunteer Services Manager at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. "Our WomenHeart volunteer at Sinai Hospital stands out as one of the most enthusiastic, well organized, and deeply motivated volunteers to work one-on-one with our patients.”
Bringing together hospitals and WomenHeart’s support services isn’t just logical, it’s actually also a smart way to make sure that women newly diagnosed with heart disease are receiving immediate support even before they get home. 85% of women who received this support report improved treatment compliance and adherence, which is absolutely critical to their recovery, and 93% feel that their quality of life is enhanced overall.
To learn more about the National Hospital Alliance, click here and then here to find a Support Network in your area.