On February 7, Providence opened its doors to help screen women for the state's number one killer of women--heart disease.
The first such initiative of its kind in South Carolina, Providence Women's Heart Center is devoted entirely to screening women for heart disease.
At the new center, housed on the second floor of the hospital's downtown campus, women can select from a menu of screenings designed to help them learn about their personal risk for heart disease. A nurse practitioner who specializes in women's heart health conducts the screenings, which include personal consultations to help women understand their results and make appropriate lifestyle changes.
"Our center is unique in that it focuses exclusively on women, a group at greatest risk for heart disease because their symptoms often go unnoticed and undetected," says Larry R. Ellis, senior vice president for cardiovascular services at Providence.
"For example, women's symptoms of heart attack are usually more subtle than men's and therefore, more commonly misdiagnosed. We believe once women know their risk for heart attack and heart disease, they can take the steps to prevent and control it."
A key component of the screenings are the personal consultations included with each one. Depending on the plan selected, women spend either 30 or 45 minutes with a nurse practitioner reviewing their individual results and developing an action plan. The most comprehensive screening plan includes an additional half-hour consultation with a Providence expert about diet, exercise or diabetes.
"Heart disease is the biggest health threat women face today, and preventive screenings are not a routine part of a woman's annual physical," says Cindy Thompson, APRN-BC, director of the women's heart center. "At Providence Women's Heart Center, we offer a highly personal approach that will give women the information they need to be proactive about their heart health."
Screening plans range from $100 to $300. Services are available by appointment, and a physician's referral is not required.
Providence Women's Heart Center is a natural extension of the hospital's Red Dress Campaign, a public awareness effort aimed at educating women about the threat of heart disease. Last year, the hospital's Red Dress Ambassadors spoke to nearly 3,500 women about heart disease at speaking engagements throughout the area.
"The new women's heart center allows us to expand our mission of meeting the health care needs of the community by offering a clinical component to the educational outreach already provided by the Red Dress Campaign," says Ellis. "We're excited about the potential this new initiative holds for saving women's lives."
For more information about the women's heart center or to schedule a speaking engagement for a church or civic organization, go to www.reddresscampaign.com .