Peer group opens in Victor Harbor offering support for heart patients

Heart Support Australia (HSA) opens its fourth Peer Support Group in South Australia with a
new location in Victor Harbor offering post-heart event support for the state’s second-largest ageing population.

According to the 2021 Census, Victor Harbor’s median age is 60.4, and the rate of people in the region living with heart disease is almost 6 percent higher than that of the Adelaide population.

The HSA Peer Support Groups are unique communal support programs offering ongoing
guidance to those who have recently undergone a heart event as well as those who have experienced heart conditions and rehabilitation.

With the diagnosis of heart health conditions like hypertension and heart disease almost doubling for Australians aged 75 and over, the likelihood of a new wave of heart disease
patients is likely to emerge in Victor Harbor in the near future, HSA CEO Dr Christian Verdicchio says.

“Our Peer Support Group systems are particularly critical for regions like Victor Harbor where the population is slightly older and heart events are more likely to occur,” he says.

“A lot of the time there is no ongoing support for heart patients after their diagnosis or after a heart scare and that can be stressful on not only the individual who suffered the heart event, but
for their family and caregivers as well,” Christian continues.
Harry Glynn and Michael Koch, who have suffered their own heart events, will be leading the Victor Harbor Peer Support Groups on the second Wednesday of each month at the Carrickalinga House Assembly Room.

Harry says that after undergoing surgery for his blocked right radial artery, he encountered a “week of frustration” and “not understanding why” his life had changed forever.
“I naively assumed the next day my life would be back to normal – how wrong I was,” Harry says.

“I was trying to locate information about post-op help and to understand my new way of life… it
was completely changed and it proved difficult to find resources to help me navigate my new
life,” he continues.

When Michael Koch went into cardiac arrest in 2014 which led to a bypass operation and an implanted defibrillator, he had never considered himself “a candidate for a heart condition.”

“I was completely surprised, and then in 2021 I went into cardiac arrest again for a complete
heart block… once again I did not consider myself a candidate for this event,” Michael says.

Earlier this year, Michael went in for his routine coronary angiogram check-up, only to wake up with a stent after doctors found a blocked artery.
“I know that I am very fortunate to have had strong support from family and friends throughout
all my heart events, but I understand that for some patients the experience of a heart attack and
subsequent changes and expectations afterwards can be challenging and uncertain,” Michael says.

“I hope that through this program I may be in a position to assist people in adjusting to their changed circumstances and support them in the process,” he concludes.

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 fewer hospital stays and less trips to the GP.

The Victor Harbor Peer Support Groups start on Wednesday 12 July and will take place on the
second Wednesday of each month from 10am.

To attend the next Victor Harbor session, please get in touch with Harry on 0408 895 060 or
email or contact Michael on 0418 845 112 or email

Heart Support Australia will host a Peer Support Group at their fifth SA location in the Riverland
in mid-July.

Peer group opens in Victor Harbor offering support for heart patients