Congenital heart diseases are one of the leading causes of death not only in Bulgaria, but also in the world. In Bulgaria, about 600 children are born annually with congenital heart malformations. About 400 heart operations are performed annually. Rehabilitation programs create an environment in which children feel safe to examine new behaviors and to build skills. They become an adults that are visible and included into the society life. They change attitudes.
In Bulgaria 8 of 1,000 newborn children are with congenital heart diseases (CHD). Around 60-70% of them needs heart operations or interventions annually. These children often have psychological, emotional or psychosocial problems, caused by the chronical disease. Children have extended periods divided from their school, friends, society. The stigma of being a "heart patient" leads to social isolation, low self-esteem and physical disabilities.
The rehabilitation program will provide an opportunity for children with CHD to develop social and communicational skills, better self-esteem and physical activity based on their condition and abilities. "Child's Heart" Association has conducted more than 40 rehabilitation programs especially for children from socially disadvantaged families. The leading team of the program include psychologist, pediatric cardiologist and adult with CHD. This helps children with CHD to cope and live with CHD.
Rehabilitation programs provide important skills for children with CHD that are crucial for their growing as valuable members of the society. Improvement of psychological health and social skills provide ability to find better realization in life. Mixture of healthy and "heart" children during the program helps to change attitudes toward stigma of being "heart patient". The project will include 25 children
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