The diagnosis of a heart condition is a crisis point for the family and friends of the patient as well as for the patient.
As partners and family members you may also feel frightened and confused. You may become aware of many feelings, including a sense of numbness, fear that the patient won't survive, anxiety and vulnerability. It is important to recognise and value your own feelings, as this can help you to best assist and care for the patient.
At Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital, you are encouraged to attend cardiac rehabilitation sessions with the patient. This is an opportunity to gain more information about the cardiac condition, to ask questions and to meet with others in a similar situation.
Within the hospital, the ward social worker can provide support, counselling and information about services and resources to both the patient and family members. The social worker can also provide information about services for those who support someone with a longer term illness, disability, mental illness or chronic condition, or who is frail or aged.
This information was first published in You and Your Heart - an education booklet for patients, families and friends. © 2006 Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service