Background Heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure (CHF) is becoming a pressing health priority across all four nations of the UK. Those with the condition in addition to medical treatments benefit from holistic care which can be provided by a range of health and social care professionals working collaboratively.
Aims In Gravesham key partners came together to form a Task and Finish Group to agree a year-long pilot funded by contributions from across the system in response to this priority. ellenor formed part of this group to help provide a stronger focus on multi-disciplinary led care and the pilot started in January 2022.
Method The Therapy Team at ellenor recognised the benefit of providing early interventions with heart failure patients for their wellbeing and health promotion. Providing exercises classes, fatigue management and breathlessness groups, carer support and advance care planning. There was also the option to join other therapeutic activity groups such as mindfulness and music therapy.
Results Providing therapeutic input for patients earlier on in their heart failure journey supported patients to improve their quality of life, empowered them to manage their symptoms and maintain their independence. The emotional and psychological support they received from attending groups was very beneficial. For the first time they were able to explore how their diagnosis has impacted them emotionally and were able to share these feelings in a safe space. Their views of what a hospice is and does were also dramatically changed as they realised it is not just about dying but the focus at ellenor is very much about living and living well.
Conclusion The pilot is now finished, and the heart failure pathway is continuing long term. Due to the success of this pathway, ellenor is establishing itself within other pathways such as respiratory and frailty.
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