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12th April 2020

Fighting Heart Disease During COVID-19

Dr Jeroen Hendriks’ research into AF

An expert in heart research, Dr Jeroen Hendriks shares how his important work is still continuing despite the COVID-19 outbreak.

Dr Hendriks was recently appointed Cardiovascular Nursing Chair at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, the first academic cardiac nursing role to be established in South Australia.

However, since the COVID-19 outbreak, Dr Hendriks has had to travel back to his home in The Netherlands to spend time with family – but that does not stop his vital work!

“My work as Cardiovascular Nursing Chair can continue ‘as usual’ through online meetings. It is fantastic that we have these technological possibilities to stay in touch professionally, but also with our loved ones,” Dr Hendriks said.

“Some of my research will be on hold though given it’s not possible to implement a new clinic in such stressful times. But in fact, I can still work on the preparations for the clinic as well as the iCARE-AF trial, funded through Australian Heart Research.

“I am also currently working on a number of publications, with one focussing on the role of clinical academics.”

Dr Hendriks has provided some helpful tips for those living with heart conditions and are vulnerable during the outbreak of COVID-19.

“For these patients, this situation particularly appeals on their self-management. Given that most services (consulting and cardiac rehab) are closed, it is important that patients follow their treatment regimen and monitor, where possible, their symptoms and vital parameters such as blood pressure,” Dr Hendriks said.

“Clinics are now providing telehealth services and in my role as President for ACRA* SA/NT, I have been in contact with the Heart Foundation to investigate how to provide online cardiac rehab services for example.

“I think it is important to stay in touch with our patients in these challenging times, to continue managing the care and provide some reassurance.”

Dr Hendriks also recommends patients to #BeActive and stay #HealthyAtHome.

“Follow the advice of the World Health Organisation and the Australian Government and stay well.”

*Australian Cardiovascular Health and Rehabilitation Association