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CaroMont Regional - 2015 Mended Hearts Hospital of the Year


Local Mended Hearts Chapter Receives National Recognition

Stevens, Syndey. (2015). Local Mended Hearts chapter receives national recognition. Retrieved from: The Gaston Gazette.

A group that helps people coping with heart issues has brought home a national award for CaroMont Health and Gaston County.

The Mended Hearts Chapter of Gastonia was recently awarded the 2015 Mended Hearts Hospital of the Year Award.

This is a major accomplishment for the chapter started just four years ago, supporters say, as more than 600 hospitals are a part of the organization. Jake Gray, president, along with Susan Murphy, manager of CaroMont Cardiac Rehab, received the award on behalf of the chapter.

Chapter 379 includes more than 100 volunteers who visit heart patients daily. The majority of the volunteers are heart patients, many of whom have survived heart attacks. This allows for the volunteers to relay hope to the patients because of their similar experiences.

“We are our own support network because we are heart patients too,” said Gray.

Before the chapter existed, hospital staff saw the need for additional support for patients, so they took the steps to start a Mended Hearts chapter.

Murphy and Gray became friends during his road to recovery at the rehabilitation center after undergoing bypass surgery.

After a few weeks, she asked Gray if he would be interested in becoming president of the budding chapter. Gray said it was hard to say no to Murphy, as all of the cardiac patients are very fond of the rehab staff and appreciative of their patience and support.

The chapter quickly began its work. In the beginning, there were few volunteers and the group would visit patients once a week. This changed as more people began to see the large impact the organization has on heart patients.

“When I started out visiting, we had few visitors [volunteers] and I visited every Wednesday,” Gray said. “I would have between one to four patients to see; we now have as many as 18 to 20 patients in a day to visit. It is because we have expanded our role to include all types of heart patients. We have found more and more ways to make sure we can help more people.”

Visitors hand HeartPacks with information on heart procedures, recovery suggestions, rehab benefits and caregiver guidelines.

The chapter now has signed up more than 125 people to receive visits and has 60 accredited visitors. Visits are now made six times a week, and are dispersed so that each member makes two visits a month. The chapter was able to log 1,921 visits in 2014.

“They have done all of this in four years,” Murphy said. “We have a vice president, a president, treasurer, public relations; a lot of good people take this seriously.”

They spread awareness through a monthly newsletter that includes a heart-healthy recipe, a feature story on a heart patient, visiting reports, chapter events and ways to get involved. The newsletter is distributed to each floor of the hospital and each CaroMont facility in Gaston County.

The members of this organization have also contributed to helping nursing students at Gaston College by setting up a scholarship for those in financial need. The scholarship was recently named the Gary A. Mims scholarship, and in the past has been awarded to eight students each year. This year, the chapter has raised more than $19,000 and will be able to award 15 scholarships.

To view the article online, click here.

Categories: Health