Irish Heart Foundation Announces Expanded National Heart & Stroke Helpline and New Freefone Number

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Helpline now completely Free of Charge to callers, with Longer Hours, Evening Opening, and Helpline Nurse Online Live Chat Service planned ahead of summer
Helpline issues “Holiday Dos and Don’ts” Travel Advisory Information for patients

27 Lives Lost Every Day to Heart Disease & Stroke

The Irish Heart Foundation has announced details of an expanded Helpline service and new Freefone number—1800 25 25 50—to support the many thousands of people affected by heart disease and stroke in Ireland each year. Calls will now be completely free of charge to the National Heart & Stroke Helpline, with longer daily opening hours, evening opening, and plans in the pipeline to develop an online helpline service later this year.
The Helpline is staffed by trained specialist nurses, so callers can be assured of expert one-to-one advice and support, in full confidence, and completely free of charge. Heart disease and stroke are the number one cause of death and disability in Ireland, with 27 lives lost and almost 300 new cases diagnosed daily1.
The expansion has been made possible thanks to the sponsorship of Life Pharmacy, which has nominated the Irish Heart Foundation as its Charity of the Year 2016. As an organisation Life Pharmacy is committed to the promotion of heart health and this partnership means that every cent raised through their various fundraising activities goes directly towards providing this support service.
The partnership means:
• Calls can now be made from any landline or mobile in Ireland free of charge to a new number—Freefone 1800 25 25 50
• Immediate extended daily opening hours, with the service now operating daily from 9am to 5pm
• Late evening opening until 7pm on Thursdays, to be expanded to other evenings later in the year
• A new dedicated direct access email helpline—helpline@irishheart.ie
• An expanded digital presence, with the development of a Helpline Nurse Online Live Chat service, and moderated online forum, to be launched later in 2016

Almost 10,000 people die each year from cardiovascular disease (CVD)—including coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and other circulatory diseases. CVD is the most common cause of death in Ireland, accounting for 31% of all deaths2. There are in the region of 90,000 people living with heart failure in Ireland3. Stroke affects almost 10,000 Irish people each year and around 2,000 die as a result4. More than 30,000 people are living in Ireland with a disability after stroke5.
With the summer holidays on the horizon, the Irish Heart Foundation and Life Pharmacy are also pleased to today issue clear and straight-forward information on travelling abroad to those who have had a stroke or who are living with a heart condition. This will help ensure that people get to make the most of their break and that their condition continues to be stable and well-controlled. The information sheet can be downloaded at www.irishheart.ie [see below for “Top 5 Travel Dos and Don’ts”] 9 in 10 have a Key Risk Factor for Heart Disease & Stroke

Nurse Patricia Hall, Helpline Nurse Manager with the Irish Heart Foundation, is delighted that the expansion of the service has been made possible:
“It’s important to emphasise that, in the event of an emergency, an ambulance should be called. But for everything else, the Irish Heart Foundation National Heart & Stroke Helpline is here for you. Studies have shown that almost two-thirds of middle aged and older adults have two of the big three risk factors for heart disease and stroke—high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity. Almost all—94%—have at least one6. The good news is 80% of premature heart disease and stroke is preventable. So, if you’re worried about stroke or heart health, don’t delay. Now thanks to Life Pharmacy, you can call the Helpline free of charge on our new Freefone number—1800 25 25 50.”

Connor Ward, pharmacist with Wards’ Life Pharmacy in St Johnston, Donegal, has a young son who was born with a serious heart condition and knows only too well the importance of people being able to access expert advice and support on heart health issues:
“My son Caolan was born with a congenital heart condition known as Hypoplastic right heart syndrome which meant that his heart was working at only half-capacity. Today, following four major heart surgeries, we are thankful that he is doing really well. This experience over the past eight years has underlined to us the importance of people having access in a timely way to information that is clear, accurate and informed.
“At Life Pharmacy, we pride ourselves on being healthcare professionals at the heart of the community. So it’s a real pleasure to have the Irish Heart Foundation as our Charity of the Year, and to be able to support this initiative which means that everyone in the country, no matter where they live, will have access to the National Heart & Stroke Helpline free of charge, and benefit from the range of service developments being planned.”

In addition to calling a nurse on the expanded National Heart & Stroke Helpline on Freefone 1800 25 25 50, supported by Life Pharmacy, members of the public can also email helpline@irishheart.ie or visit www.irishheart.ie for more information.

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