Background and aim As part of a project to ‘bridge the gap’ between cardiology and palliative services for heart failure patients. The Living Well services in two partner hospices collaborated to design and deliver a heart failure specific fatigue and breathlessness course, aiming to educate patients to manage symptoms and improve quality of life through earlier engagement with hospice services. Led by two physiotherapists and supported by a Heart Failure Nurse Specialist, the course consisted of weekly tailored exercise (Taylor, 2019; NICE (NG106), 2018) an informative education session, relaxation and directed peer support.
Methods The course was modelled on the original Fatigue and Breathlessness courses (FAB) run at the hospices with exercises and education specifically modified for patients with heart failure. Education sessions addressed goal-setting and self-management, fatigue, breathlessness, eating, exercise, relaxation, advance care planning and living with heart failure. Attendees completed an IPOS assessment pre- and post- course as well as a Views on Care questionnaire. Therefore, quantitative and qualitative data was collected.
Results There were 25 referrals to the courses, 16 patients attended. There was an increase in the overall rating of quality of life post-attendance. 100% of respondents reported that the course gave them ‘a lot of benefit’ or ‘some benefit’.
Qualitative data: what aspects of the course went well?
Exercise circuit, good company
Social side of the course. Learning breathing techniques
Exercise information and meeting similar people
All of them.
Conclusions After attending the course, patients were equipped with the knowledge to manage their symptoms better. The patients reported enjoying the exercise and interaction with others. They now had the skills and confidence to exercise in the community and at home. At the end of the course many of the patients participated in further exercise and relaxation sessions within the hospices and the wider community.
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