"One of the toughest parts of going through a major heart or cardiovascular medical procedure is the way in which your family and friends can visit you.” Cardiac Patient
It’s no secret that the emotional impact of living with a heart problem is huge, so the importance of your friends and family there for support is massive. It is not uncommon for people to suffer from sudden cardiac complications when very far from home, making support from friends and family difficult and sometimes impossible.
Heartbeat exists to ensure that people being treated at the Wessex Cardiac Centre are provided with the best possible care. Their work over the years has allowed them to ensure that everybody, from patients to friends and relatives; will be helped every step of the way.
For the families of heart patients receiving treatment at Southampton Hospital, having somewhere to stay close by is essential. Patients could be in hospital for any amount of time. So having the reassurance that you can stay as long as you need, at no cost, is a salvation.
Heartbeat House has 25 bedrooms. The communal areas are comfortable whilst being a 3 minute walk from the cardiac wards. The lounge looks out onto a lovely restful garden. Guests can relax, watch television, and give each other mutual support.
It is not uncommon for guests to arrive at the house unexpectedly, meaning they will be lacking all the essentials needed for their stay. So, Heartbeat ensures these essentials are provided.
Anne stayed at Heartbeat house when her husband David was in the Cardiac Unit. It provided him much needed comfort knowing that she was close by.
"Heartbeat House is the most amazing place for people in our situation, there is always someone there when we need a hug or just to sit and listen, and our group do that together too. We have become firm friends now and will keep in touch even long after we go home. We have even set up our Heartbeat friend's group and support each other through good days and bad.
Alison and Mark who manage the House are amazing and if you are having a down day, they know you are, and they are there to comfort us when we may need it. For me personally, David, my husband who is in the Cardiac Unit, knows I am safe, and that was the main thing that was worrying him when he knew he was going into hospital. David always asks me when I visit him, how everything is going in the "little House" as he calls it. David said himself, he doesn't know what we would have done without it. For him mentally knowing I was near him, helped us both to deal with the whole situation.
That is why we will support Heartbeat for the rest of our lives now. In five weeks time we have our first family event to support Heartbeat; my son, his partner, my two daughters and my grandson, they are doing the Reading Run under the name 'Team Heartbeat'. Also, family members will be making cakes and selling them to raise funds too. I am now in my sixth week of staying at Heartbeat House, and I can stay as long as I need to with no pressure. As a family, we can't thank Heartbeat enough for all the support and care they have provided."
The running costs for the house and its facilities total to around £87,000 a year.
Heartbeat receives no government or statutory funding to run this service, so rely solely on the generosity of supporters to keep it going.
For ONLY £1 each week, you can make sure that Heartbeat House can continue to be a lifeline for patients and families of those in the Wessex Cardiac Centre. By playing make a smile lottery each week you are giving Heartbeat an income that they can rely on. £1 may not seem like much, but it goes a long way when clubbed together with the efforts of others in the community.
Together, we can make sure Heartbeat House will still be there for the families who need it the most in the years to come.