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Peer support for people with heart disease in NSW

University of Sydney

  • Cardiovascular Senior Researcher Grant
Date Funded:
  • 1 February, 2022
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Professor Julie Redfern

Project Summary

Implementation and evaluation of a peer support program for people with heart disease: Harnessing technology and lived experience of survivors.

The main researcher for this project is Professor Julie Redfern.


What is the issue for NSW?

Surviving a heart attack is traumatic and life changing. Over one million Australians are living with heart disease and are at a 10-fold risk of future hospitalisation or death. In NSW, heart disease is responsible for over 50,000 admissions to hospital every year. Traditional cardiac rehabilitation programs were developed 50 years ago and cannot reach all patients across NSW who need support and prevention. Thousands of patients are slipping through the cracks and new solutions are needed.

Peer support programs, where patients share lived experience and support others in similar situations, have been shown to be beneficial. However, whether such a program improves cardiovascular health and whether it can be successfully delivered across NSW remains unknown. High quality scientific research is required if we are to expand this approach to all patients.

What does the research aim to do and how?

To harness (and learn from) the lived experienced of people who have survived a heart attack and deliver a community-led peer support program that has both in-person and digital options. The research aims to test if implementation of such a program is achievable, if it reduces risk of future heart attack, improves patient experience and is financially feasible. The project also aims to increase skills and training among patients, health professionals and early career researchers.