Heart support group starts in Port Lincoln

Registered nurse Alyssia Smith is leading the Port Lincoln group. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Port Lincoln now has a peer support group giving post-heart event support to cardiac patients thanks to Heart Support Australia (HSA).

The program takes place on the fourth Wednesday of each month at Port Lincoln Library.

Registered nurse of 18 years Alyssia Smith – who has spent the last 11 years as a cardiac/pulmonary rehabilitation nurse – leads the support group.

The communal support programs offer comfort and guidance to those who have recently undergone a heart event and also for those who have experienced heart conditions and rehabilitation.

Ms Smith said she was passionate about providing support and education to rural patients who have had a heart event/surgery, as they mostly get sent home to manage their recovery on their own.

“Most clients get referred to cardiac rehab with only 28 per cent uptake of the program,” she said.

“We are working with Heart Support Australia and other organisations to improve these statistics.

“I am excited to be able to offer patients who have attended cardiac rehab program after a heart event, or diagnosis, a follow up support group.”

HSA chief executive officer Dr Christian Verdicchio said while heart disease had been the leading cause of death for Australians for years, the Covid outbreak and continued infections in the community worsened risk factors, meaning the demand for support systems had never been higher.

HSA encourages people to get involved with the community support session by getting in touch with Alyssia on (08) 7669 1717 or by emailing alyssia.smith@sa.gov.au.