While you may feel alone and out of your depth when facing a crisis involving heart disease, the Cedars-Sinai Heart Families Program assures that you are not.
No one knows better what it is like to be in the hospital with a heart condition or to have a family member who is than someone who has been there themselves.
The men and women of Heart Families have been in your shoes. They have had a cardiac crisis (including in some cases, a heart transplant) or have experienced one in their immediate family. They have felt the fear and loneliness - and survived.
Now they are here to help you. Heart Families volunteers are specially trained to help cardiac patients who are going through testing, heart surgery or other treatments - and their families - by:
- Offering person-to-person emotional support
- Helping you better understand and use medical and hospital services
- Serving as a liaison with other Medical Center staff, such as nurses and doctors
- Showing you how to make home care simpler and easier
In addition to their own experience with heart disease, Heart Families volunteers are trained extensively and supervised by a licensed clinical social worker. Heart Families volunteers are supported by a team that includes the Director of Volunteer Services and members of the departments of nursing, psychiatry, pediatrics, medicine and surgery.
The Heart Families Program has been honored by the American Hospital Association's Volunteer Excellence Program Award. Representatives of the Heart Families Program travel to other hospitals across the nation to guide other cardiac programs in developing similar volunteer programs.
There is no charge to use this program.
If you would like to serve as a Heart Families volunteer or would like more information about the program, please call Volunteer Services at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at (310) 423-8044.