Welcome to Heart Care Matters! I am so happy that you found us among the thousands of medical websites on the internet. Heart Care Matters’ mission is to provide a supportive, understanding, and encouraging platform for thousands of caregivers providing care and support for their loved ones with chronic heart disease or those undergoing open heart surgery (or related surgeries). It is not a medical website, nor written by a professional writer. It is written by someone who cares about the well being of both heart patient and caregiver.
What inspired me to create Heart Care Matters was a series of reflections over the last few years. In the beginning of this journey I researched anything I could find about my husband Steve’s medical condition but there came a point when I felt I needed encouragement. I continued to search the internet and found many caregiver websites and forums. However, most of what I found was for Alzheimer’s, elderly care, and cancer but few related to ‘heart patient caregivers’. I also found plenty of medical websites and wonderful patient oriented sites but they offered limited caregiver resources. It was then that I realized that what I was looking for was a place to call ‘my own’, a place where I could share and be encouraged by others in similar situations.
I also had many questions and thoughts when Steve was being discharged from the hospital after his open heart surgery. I thought to myself, ‘Steve just had major surgery and I am supposed to take him home and take care of him with a few pieces of paper handed to me and a discharge nurse overwhelming me with what seemed like 100 details in about an hour?’ Granted these instructions were critical for his physical well being, but what about things to look for in light of his emotional well-being? What about materials for the caregiver about to plunge into 24/7 care? What about materials about what I should have ready at home for my patient? What I realized is that there exists a huge disconnect in the medical establishment in preparing and educating both heart patient and caregiver on the daily and practical realities and responsibilities during recovery. In addition, there is little to prepare one of the emotional and psychological challenges the patient might face during his or her recovery. Moreover, there is insufficient support to prepare the caregiver for the enormous responsibility he or she will be undertaking.
Unfortunately, this situation is not unique as thousands of caregivers find themselves in the midst of very challenging circumstances. Heart Care Matters was created with a desire to help bridge the gap, minimize the lack of support and resources, and to offer an encouraging platform where caregivers can connect and find support through others experiencing similar circumstances. It was also created for those who physically cannot attend caregiver support groups or those who prefer an online community.
In essence, Heart Care Matters was created with the caregiver’s best interests in mind. It was created to offer caregivers a supportive network of caring and understanding peers. It is my hope that as we share our stories and learn from our experiences that we will be encouraged and succeed even in the most challenging circumstances.