Background One in 15 people aged 75–84 in the UK have some degree of heart failure. Longfield working collaboratively with the Heart Failure Clinical Nurse Specialist team developed and piloted a six-week rehabilitative heart failure programme.
Aims To develop, pilot and evaluate a heart failure programme. The programme used a combined clinical and creative approach, bringing together the skills of Heart Failure CNS and Creative Therapists. The objectives of the programme were to increase exercise tolerance, knowledge and understanding of heart failure, improve feelings of well-being and support patients to achieve better health outcomes, such as decrease in medical interventions.
Methods The six-week programme had three main components: clinical, creative therapy and exercise in the form of Tai Chi.
Topics covered during the programme included managing breathlessness and fatigue, advance care planning, nutrition, weight loss, medication, mood and stress management. Sessions concluded with an exercise component that consisted of Tai Chi.
Results Two programmes were delivered with 13 attendees in total. In addition we ran a taster/introductory session to which carers and participants were invited, to give them an overview of the programme. Qualitative and quantitative patient feedback was gathered at the beginning and at the end of both programmes. Feedback was positive with respondents feeling more able to engage in exercise and increased confidence in managing symptoms and medication. In the second pilot group the Warwick- Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWS) was used to measure outcomes. The mean wellbeing score pre and post programme saw an increase of 7.2, demonstrating a positive change.
Conclusions Results from the pilot group have demonstrated participants’ increased knowledge and understanding of heart failure. They developed coping mechanisms, changes in behaviour and benefited from peer support. Measuring decrease in medical intervention over such a short time period was difficult, however, participants reported reduced attendance at GP and improved self-management.
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