Heart Support Australia (HSA) opens a Peer Support Group in Moruya this week, giving post-heart event support for cardiac patients in the Batemans Bay and Moruya region.
The HSA Peer Support Groups are unique communal support programs that offer comfort and guidance to those who have recently undergone a heart event and also for those who have experienced heart conditions and rehabilitation.
The link between cardiovascular disease and COVID-19, including resulting inflammation of the
cardiovascular system from the virus, saw 17 percent more Australians die of ischemic heart disease in the first eight months of 2022 than what is considered “natural range”.
HSA CEO Dr Christian Verdicchio said that while heart disease has been the leading cause of
death for Australians for years, the COVID-19 outbreak and continued infections in the
community have worsened the risk factors, meaning the demand for support systems has never been higher.
“Unfortunately, far too often when people are diagnosed with or undergo treatment for a heart condition, they don’t have ongoing support and that can be incredibly isolating.”
“Our support groups are designed to ensure that our patients are staying on the path to a healthier life by making it known to them that they are not alone because they are interacting with their leader and group members who have gone through similar circumstances,” Christian
According to the 2021 Census, heart disease accounts for over six per cent of long-term health conditions in Moruya and over 7 per cent in Batemans Bay.
With a median age of 52, Moruya’s number of residents with cardiovascular disease is expected to rise as the population continues to age.
Leading the Batemans Bay and Moruya Peer Support Group will be Dianne Fee who suffered a heart attack in the early days of COVID.
“My rehabilitation program was conducted largely by phone contact as social distancing prevented my regular attendance at the clinic,” Dianne said.
“While this was beneficial to my physical recovery, I did not have an opportunity to mix with people who had undergone heart episodes of their own.
“When I heard that Heart Support Australia was looking to start up a Peer Support Group in the Moruya and Batemans Bay region, I thought it would be a great way for me to connect with and
offer support to other people who have had a similar experience to mine,” she said.
The peer support program initiative derives from a new era of managing heart disease that empowers heart patients with education, improved self-esteem, and larger support networks that result in less of a strain on our health system with fewer hospital stays and trips to the GP.
“My aim is to make a difference for others in our community who have been through some form
of heart trauma and are looking for ongoing support and information that will help them to develop healthy lifestyle habits,” Dianne concluded.
The Batemans Bay and Moruya Peer Support Group will take place on the second Thursday of each month at the Moruya Golf Club with the first one on Thursday 13 July.
Heart Support encourages people to get involved with the community support session by getting in touch with group leader Dianne on 0417 327 625 or at email@example.com.