Doylestown Health is looking for volunteers for the new Cardiovascular and Critical Care Pavilion
Ed Price still remembers the volunteers who came to visit him after his heart surgery in 2013.
Doylestown Health's Heart-to-Heart volunteers came to see Ed after his triple bypass. They talked to him about their own heart surgery experiences, reassuring him he could get through the process of healing and returning to living.
About a year later, inspired by the impact made by those visitors, Ed started volunteering with the Heart-to-Heart program.
"I'm here to tell you there is life after open-heart surgery, " said Ed, 73. "It does get better."
The goal of Doylestown Health's Heart-to-Heart volunteer program is to provide a positive transition to healing and wellness for heart patients and their family members through reassurance, compassion and inspiration. Heart-to-Heart volunteers have all had some past involvement with a cardiac event, and most are former heart patients. Their mission is to help others like themselves.
They offer individual, non-medical support based on their personal experiences with cardiac diagnoses and past events. Many volunteers say that they feel this is an opportunity to give others the support they were given, and to express their gratitude.
"It's a very rewarding experience because you're helping other people, " said Ed.
The retired estate planner and financial consultant was looking for some type of volunteer work when he learned about the Heart-to-Heart program. "I knew it was really personal and that I could help people get through the process, " he said. "It clicked – that's what I wanted to do."
Following his training, Ed started visiting patients who have undergone heart surgery. Taking cues from the patients, Ed will share his own experiences and answer questions that patients or family members may have. He'll talk about the importance of cardiac rehab and will introduce the subject of living a healthy lifestyle – something Ed has done himself. He started walking, lost 40 pounds and started eating healthier. But he doesn't preach. He just uses himself as an example of what is possible after surgery.
"It's not a lecture. I'll never try to force a conversation. It's just one person who's had the same experience, " he said. "Even just seeing the volunteer walking and talking and doing things is a good thing. The patients see that it's not the end – it's really the start of a new life."
Recovering from heart surgery has its challenges, and the emotional aspect of healing is important. "It does give you a different perspective on life, " said Ed. "You can't help but think about life after surgery."
He appreciates his role in helping patients through the process and "making it a little easier for them."
The Heart-to-Heart volunteers are a close-knit group and "there are some amazing people in that group, " Ed said.
In early 2020, Doylestown Health will open the new Cardiovascular and Critical Care Pavilion. More Heart-to-Heart volunteers will be needed. Ed encourages individuals who have had heart surgery experience to consider volunteering.
"Give it a shot. You don't know until you do it. I look forward to coming in to volunteer every time. It's worthwhile. It's a great place to work. It isn't work – it's a pleasure."
For more information on becoming a Heart-to-Heart volunteer, contact the Volunteer Services office at 215-345-2204. Other volunteer opportunities in the new Cardiovascular and Critical Care Pavilion are also available.
About the Doylestown Health Cardiovascular and Critical Care Pavilion
Patient care, quality and comfort are the driving forces behind the design of Doylestown Health's Cardiovascular and Critical Care Pavilion, a top priority of a comprehensive $75 million campaign, ONE VISION: The Campaign for Doylestown Health. Future home of the new Center for Heart and Vascular Care and the Clark Center for Critical Care Medicine, this new Pavilion will incorporate features and amenities that seamlessly integrate the highest levels of clinical care and patient privacy, with special focus on wellness and comfort. We invite you to join us as we create the life-changing healthcare of tomorrow. Philanthropic support will fund transformational renovation and expansion across the Doylestown Hospital and Pine Run campuses and will help chart the course for the next generation of patients, providers, and technology.
For more information, visit the Doylestown Health Foundation website or call 215.345.2009.