by Michelle Biegler
February is “Heart Month”. This year, February 8-14, 2009, was dedicated to Heart Failure Awareness Week. During this time, our heart failure staff decided to celebrate by holding an evening event for people diagnosed with heart failure, friends, families and any others interested. The event was titled, “Living Heart Healthy: A guide to living well with Heart Failure” and was held on February 10, 2009.
The evening agenda included 4 speakers, all presenting on different areas of heart failure. First off was Dr. Jonathan Howlett, Cardiologist, discussing, “Living Well to prevent heart failure” He offered insight on heart failure, obesity, diabetes and hypertension and shared suggestions as to what you can do today to improve your condition.
Next was Tanis Lane, Nurse Clinician at the Foothills Medical Centre Cardiac Function Clinic, who spoke about “The patient’s role in the management of heart failure”. Her presentation focused on what the person living with heart failure can do on a daily basis, to improve their quality of life and to become more actively involved in their care.
After Tanis was Bob Ford, Pharmacist at the Foothills Medical Centre Cardiac Function Clinic, whose talk was entitled, “Pills and potions -notes and notions”. He covered the medications that are currently being used in the treatment of heart failure, vitamins and minerals as well as some good common sense insight on the use of medications in heart failure.
Our final speaker was Nick Campbell, who is an individual living with heart failure (and living quite well), shared his experiences about travelling with heart failure. Nick is an avid world traveller, who refused to let heart failure get in the way of his travelling. He spoke about his personal experiences with travel, the preparation he does prior to his trips, the tricks that he has learned over the years, dining out, exercise and special considerations at security.
All of the speakers were able to entertain questions, as well as stay after the event to answer more questions and mingle with the guests.
We were thrilled with the turnout of the evening. There were 75 guests in attendance, which was an excellent crowd. The audience was diverse, and included those individuals that attend the Cardiac Function Clinics, friends, family members and health care staff. Everyone enjoyed themselves, learned something they didn’t know, socialized with others who have heart failure over a cup of coffee and talked with our guest speakers, who were wonderful in answering additional questions.
One couple, Fred and Barb Penner, were so interested in attending that they drove all the way from Three Hills for the evening event. Fred stated, “This is a very important program. Well worth it.” Fred suffered his first heart attack 11 years ago and has been attending the Cardiac Function Clinic for many years. He has been involved in other educational sessions and has had many one to one visits with the nurses, but feels that one can “Always glean something new”. With all he has been through over the years, Fred and his wife, Barb, continue to remain positive and have a saying that can sum up their attitude. “You can choose to be better or bitter in any circumstance”. They certainly enjoyed the session this year and are looking forward to attending next year as well.
All in all, the event was a huge success! Thank you to everyone who attended and to the planning committee, who did an outstanding job organizing and making this event happen. Until next year, let’s all ‘Live Heart Healthy’!!
Related educational materials – see the LCIA’s Patient Resource Centre
MOTE Related educational materials – see the AHS Calgary Health Region Health Information Library
Other links of interest – Useful Health Links
Also – check out the Human Atlas videos