Thu | Aug 5, 2021

KPH cardiology patients get weekly dose of Heart2Heart

Published:Friday | June 25, 2021 | 12:08 AM
Volunteers prepare to install the donated television set in the Cardiology Unit, Kingston Public Hospital.
Volunteers prepare to install the donated television set in the Cardiology Unit, Kingston Public Hospital.

Patients of the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) Cardiology Unit are once again getting a weekly dose of inspirational heart-to-heart literature while they wait to see their doctor.

The local charity, Live Heart2Heart (LH2H), recently donated a TV and grill, for added security, to the unit as a means to continue its mission to provide motivational content/poetry to heart patients during the clinic in lieu of in-person readings by volunteers, which were discontinued in March 2020 due to the pandemic. Prior to COVID-19 restrictions, volunteers also distributed bookmarker tokens to patients with the charity’s signature original poem ‘Be Strong’. The poems are now audio recorded remotely by volunteers and then edited for video format with complementary background music and graphics. The video is loaded on to the TV monitor for playback during the clinic where patients can read along and/or listen. LH2H will periodically change the content to ensure it remains interesting for patients. A safe solution is being sought to continue distribution of the tokens.

“We are extremely grateful to Live Heart2Heart for their support over the past two years. I think the inspirational content adds value to our service delivery during the cardiology clinic and the patients seem very interested and engaged while listening. So, we think this is a good initiative,” said Dr Camille Christian, head of the KPH Cardiology Unit.

PRONE TO MENTAL ILLNESSES

According to Harvard Health, people with heart disease are approximately twice as likely to experience depression compared with the general population. Anecdotally, through the charity members’ pre-pandemic interactions with the cardiology patients, many appeared to be sad and expressed feelings of anxiety and stress, particularly relating to treatment affordability. They have also expressed deep appreciation for the poetry readings. In January 2019, a total of 13 out of 26 patients at another cardiology clinic were surveyed after exposure to live poetry readings and given a bookmarker token with an encouraging poem. They were asked to evaluate the value of the poetry readings and bookmarker to them, as well as how it made them feel. All of the respondents found both poetry reading and bookmarker somewhat, very or extremely valuable, and 85 per cent felt much better or better emotionally after the poetry reading.

“This is a very important milestone for Live Heart2Heart as we are now able to continue our mission safely, which wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing team of directors, volunteers, and donors. We are committed to inspiring heart patients and supporting the KPH Cardiology Unit. We definitely hope to extend this model to other clinics in the future,” said Donnelle Christian, executive director of Live Heart2Heart.

Live Heart2Heart is a registered non-profit and charity that provides inspirational content and memorabilia to heart patients. It also intends to offer limited funding to offset the costs of depression counselling and heart procedures for patients who are in need but unable to afford them. Live Heart2Heart was formalised in December 2018, after its founder was diagnosed with a heart condition eight years prior, and blended a love for poetry and inspiring others with a mission to touch the hearts and lives of other cardiology patients.