Hospices team up for National Heart Failure Awareness Month
PUBLISHED: 14:06 17 February 2019
A hospice is reaching out to patients living with heart failure who could benefit from its services.
During National Heart Failure Awareness Month, Garden House Hospice Care has teamed up with Isabel Hospice in Welwyn Garden City and Lister Hospital in Stevenage to educate people about diet, breathlessness, managing fatigue, sleep and relaxation
More than half a million people in the UK are living with heart failure. Symptoms include breathlessness, fatigue and weakness, swelling in the legs, ankles or feet, an irregular heart beat and reduced ability to exercise.
Community health care professionals who are caring for patients with heart failure and their families are also kept updated through education events on recent advances in heart failure management, including the importance of offering hospice and palliative care support.
Dr Ros Marvin, GHHC consultant in palliative medicine, and May Pheasant – a heart failure nurse from Isabel Hospice – provide weekly palliative care advice and support at heart failure clinics at Lister Hospital.
Dr Marvin said: “Hospices are not just about the last days of life, but about optimising patients’ lives in the weeks, months and years leading up to that.
“The aim of this programme is to raise awareness of our services in the community and in the cardiology teams to identify heart failure patients earlier, so we can support them with their symptoms – physically and psychologically. We want to make sure that people with heart failure are living as fully as they can every day for as long as they can.
“By reaching these patients through clinics and offering hospice support as well as courses to self-manage fatigue, breathlessness and wellness courses, we will help to improve their quality of life.”
Tony, an 80-year-old outpatient at Garden House, added: “I try to make my life as normal as possible. The heart failure course helped me to start doing exercises that I wouldn’t do myself at home.
“I learnt about diet and exercise and became friends with people who were going through the same thing as me.
“I now come to Garden House Hospice Care for weekly physio sessions and do weights and leg exercises. This has improved my breathing, strength and general welfare.
“I can even go and play on the local par 3 golf course whenever I get the opportunity.”
Patients can refer themselves to the hospice or be referred by a health or social care professional.
To contact Garden House call 01462 679540, and for Isabel Hospice its 01707 382500.