Women@Heart Inpatient Peer Support Program

After being diagnosed with heart disease, many women experience feelings of isolation, depression, and fear. Being able to talk to someone ‘who has been there’ can make an important difference in their emotional recovery.

To meet this need, the Women@Heart Inpatient Support Program was developed and initiated by the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre (CWHHC), part of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. 

The Program is an opportunity for women recently diagnosed with heart disease to connect one-on-one with a Women@Heart Inpatient Volunteer at the bedside.  The volunteers are heart disease survivors who are ready to listen, support and offer information on recovery programs. Their own history makes them uniquely suited to this support role.  To become a Women@Heart Inpatient Volunteer, the women need to have been diagnosed with a heart condition and have a passion for supporting and helping women on their road to recovery.

This Program started as a pilot project in July 2017. After receiving positive feedback from female patients, peer support volunteers and medical staff, the Program became an integrated service offered to female patients at the Heart Institute as of March 2018.

It is a win-win situation for the patients and the volunteers.  Patients appreciate spending time with someone to whom they can relate because all the volunteers have been past heart patients. Volunteers feel good about their contribution in supporting the patients in a time of need. 

The CWHHC continues to refine and develop support to women experiencing heart disease.  To learn more about the work of the CWHHC, please visit yourheart.ca.  If you are interested in being a Women@Heart Inpatient Volunteer and would like to hear more about the program, please visit yourheart.ca or call 613-696-7000 ext.10412.

Mark these dates:

  1. The Canadian Women’s Heart Health Summit is being held on April 2-3, 2020 at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa. There is a new category for registration for the summit: “Woman with Lived Experience”. To learn more about the Summit, including the agenda and registration, go to womenheartsummit.ca.
  2. February 13, 2020 is Wear Red Canada aimed at raising awareness of heart disease in women as part of Heart Month. Show your support by wearing red on February 13, 2020. Watch for upcoming notices and events in celebration of this day.