Mended Hearts volunteers from left to right: Darryl Schlicher, Jack Malone, Maryanne Malone, Rod Martin, Lloyd Pope and Robyn Finer.

After Rod Martin, LG Health Mended Hearts program volunteer, had heart surgery, he searched for ways to connect with others whose lives had been impacted by a heart-related surgery.

At the time he found support through the Mended Hearts program. The national program seeks to provide hope and help improve quality of life for heart patients and their families through ongoing peer-to-peer support, education and advocacy.

When Martin and his wife relocated to Lancaster from Texas in 2015, he searched for opportunities to continue to give back through similar programming. When he wasn’t able to find a local Mended Hearts chapter, he turned to LG Health as a potential partner.

In November 2017, the Mended Hearts program at Lancaster General Hospital launched, with the help of volunteers and clinicians.

“As survivors, volunteers are able to connect with patients on a personal level. We are able to talk to them about our challenges and successes, which allows patients to be open about their concerns. We also provide educational material and long-term support,” explained Martin.

In order to serve as an accredited visitor, volunteers must be a survivor of a heart event and participate in an online training program. Spouses can also participate, with the goal of providing support to the family during this transitional period.

“Because this is a patient-centered program, the volunteers focus on helping patients in their everyday life. Our volunteers are extremely dedicated to their responsibilities, and it shows through their interactions with each patient,” shared Maria Shedleski, manager, Volunteer Services & Community Outreach Programs.

In August, the Mended Hearts program at LGH celebrated its 1,000th patient visit.

“We, as volunteers, are very fortunate that we have the opportunity to meet with patients and their families. I gain as much, if not more, from meeting with patients than they ever do from me. For that, I am grateful,” said Martin.

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