A local foundation branch is putting the call out for those interested in helping to start up a support group, allowing people to share their stories and emotional support.
The Heart Foundation Rotorua branch would love to hear from people interested in being a part of a support group for those affected by cardiac-related issues, once alert levels allow it.
Heart health advocate with Heart Foundation Rotorua branch, Fraser Heron, recently gave a seminar at Parksyde Community Centre where he mentioned this.
When he brought the subject up, a couple of women shared their experiences of how emotional support was lacking after their procedures and heart health issues.
Heron said we were lucky in Rotorua to have both a great cardiac team at Rotorua Hospital and cardiac rehabilitation sessions with specialists after people had been released.
However, hospital stays could be "a real blur" for people, and something like this group would allow for continuous support afterwards, he said.
"It would be great if we can get people together with similar ailments, and the meetings can be as structured or loose as people want.
"I think we do a great job medically with those people who have cardiac-related issues, but when they get sent home, all of a sudden the wrap-around support you get at the hospital is gone.
"It can be a scary experience."
He said a lot of people who suffer from cardiac-related issues are living in isolation, and don't have family or friends, or don't feel like they could reach out to others for support.
"If we can offer something for them that would be fantastic. I think it's helpful sharing with other people on the same journey.
"People can say, 'This is what I did, who I spoke to, and what I found was ... ' You then know you're not going on this journey alone, someone had been there before you."
Heron said they recently conducted a pilot, Heart Chat, in which he called people to follow up with them after they had left hospital, and there had been a really positive response.
"Most were on a good journey which was great to hear, and for those struggling, we could help them to head in the right direction."
He said the Heart Foundation website had many resources and a lot of information and journey stories, but not everyone had access to the internet and it was good to have personal interaction.
Email or call Fraser Heron on email@example.com or 027 281 2488 if you are keen to help get a group going.