MAKING FAMILIES LIVES EASIER
Heart Link was originally started as a support group for parents and families who had a child suffering from a heart defect. Families then, as now, wanted to meet and talk to others in a similar situation. The first meetings were well attended and supported by members of the hospital staff who recognized the need for such a group.
We consider it essential to maintain the support side for parents. We hold weekly "Coffee Evenings" at 8.00pm every Tuesday and at 5.30pm every Friday in the Heart Link Office which is situated in the Play Room, directly off the Children's Ward. This is a chance for anyone to come and join us and talk to committee members, who themselves have a child with a heart defect.
Committee members are always available if a parent would like to talk to someone. The Ward staff will contact us at anytime if anyone asks them to.
We operate a Freephone Helpline Number: 0500 382152
We produce a newsletter three times a year, which is circulated to all our members. We are always pleased to hear from our members and gladly print their stories and letters, as we know other families in similar situations like to read them.
We give a "Heart Link Goody Bag" to every young patient on their first admission to Glenfield Hospital. These include an exclusive "Walter Bear" cuddly toy (complete with its own Heart Link t-Shirt), a Heart Link mug; pen; pencil & car sticker. To date we have given out over 4,500!!!
We organize an annual day trip with discounted entry for our family members to Twin Lakes Theme Park. This has proved to be a good day out (though we don't always get the weather right!) with plenty to do inside and out. It is a chance for everyone to socialize and catch up with others they may have met through hospital or out-patient visits.
For our young members we hold an annual Teddy Bears Picnic in August. This has now developed into a major event with fairground rides, Donkey rides, BBQ, Ice cream van, face painters, clowns or balloon modelers and anything else we can think of to make it a day to remember.
In December, we hold a very noisy but very enjoyable Christmas Party for our family members, complete with Santa, clowns, face painter, fancy dress competitions and not forgetting a picnic tea and a present for every child (patient AND siblings).
We try and make life easier for our parents: a room to be close to your child whilst they are in hospital and facilities to cook, eat, launder clothes and shower as well as the endless cups of tea and coffee! At the hospital, parents can use the Heart Link quiet garden as a place to reflect or get some fresh air.
Our funding supplies an INR machine to our young patients on Warfarin so that parents can home test their children’s INR levels, saving trips into hospital. We also supply pill crushers and splitters to help administer medication to our youngsters.
Our caravans provide much needed holidays for many families at a greatly subsidized cost. Not only are the caravans luxury 8 berth models, but the holiday includes a weekly pass to Butlins for everyone in the party.