Support group cares for open heart patients

November 28, 2006
When Roland Stoner moved to Wilmington, one of the first things he looked for was a heart disease support group. After undergoing open heart surgery several years ago in Virginia, he found a support group to be a very positive part of his healing experience. But with no support group in the area, Mr. Stoner worked with staff at New Hanover Regional Medical Center to launch a new group, Coastal Heart Cares. Support from groups like these is vitally important as people learn to live with heart disease. “After a heart event, sometimes people feel they are alone,” Stoner said. “It has been very fulfilling to see how the heart support group has grown in the past three years. “A heart event is a life-changing experience, but life goes on. These programs reinforce what we need to do to have longer, fuller lives. The interaction with other members also helps diminish that feeling of loneliness.” Meetings include an education session, time for questions and answers, then participants are free to break into groups or visit informally among themselves. The group is open to anyone who has been diagnosed with heart disease, as well as spouses or significant others because heart disease impacts the entire family. Participants are also encouraged to invite other people who suffer from heart disease. Marlene Sigler, Manager of Cardiac Rehab and the Cardiovascular Lab, said the group has made a difference to patients and their families. “These sessions allow for participants to learn more about taking care of their hearts, not only from the experts, but from each other as well,” she said. “The Coastal Heart Center provides state-of-the-art technology, and our community has an extraordinary group of cardiologists to provide their care.” Coast Heart Cares exists to serve its participants. The speakers are chosen based on general needs of the patients. Registration is not required and snacks are provided. For information on this support group or Coastal Heart Center services, call 910.343.7773. Click here for a list of upcoming topics and dates.