Welcome from Heartbeat Trust Chairman Dr Ambrose McLoughlin
The Heartbeat Trust seeks to Improve Heart Failure care for all through advocacy and the provision of internationally leading research and services.
What Is Heart Failure?
Heart failure is where the heart does not work as efficiently as it should. This means that the blood can’t deliver enough oxygen and nourishment to the body to allow it to work normally. Heart failure is a very common condition and there are about 90,000 people living with heart failure in Ireland today. Up to one in five people is expected to develop heart failure at some point in their life, and the burden of heart failure on individuals, their families and the health service is increasing due to our ageing population, better survival after heart attacks, and poorly controlled risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and smoking. Heart Failure is one of the most common causes of hospitalisation in patients over 65 years of age. It is estimated that 25% of the burden on our Acute Hospital system relates to Heart Failure. Heart Failure contributes directly and very significantly to delayed discharges and trolley utilisation in our hospitals.
We have perfected a proven strategy that has had a measureable impact within a short period; it reduces hospitalization, is cost-effective and requires little infrastructural investment. We have had notable international success in the management of this condition. Indeed our STOP HF prevention programme has won a number of international awards and is currently being replicated by the Mayo Clinic in the USA. Right now we are evolving our proven eHealth strategies to;
Reduce numbers requiring outpatient assessment
Reduce waiting times for those who need assessment
Reduce travel requirements for the elderly
Continue medical education for GPs maintaining skill base
Empower GPs with reduced need for referral to out-patient department
Improve adherence by providing focused coaching by nurses to at risk patients
The Heartbeat Trust’s prevention initiative is based on using community-based diagnostics to broaden the amount of people who can benefit from our STOP-HF programme. It is also based on bringing the next generation of newer, more specific treatments to the at risk population, as well as delivering care in the community using eHealth initiatives between hospital, primary care,selfcare and homecare. The incidence and prevalence of chronic cardiac, endocrine and respiratory disease amongst our population will continue to rise exponentially given our ageing population and the poor lifestyles of significant cohorts of the young and middle aged in Ireland and across the globe. We are in a position to develop and support a cost-effective implementable smart ageing and smart living solution for patients and their carers. To achieve all of this requires the active direct collaboration and full participation of the pharmaceutical industry, the medical devices and technology industry, the eHealth and ICT industry, the clinicians, academics and researchers at every level, to support a new model of interdisciplinary care and treatment, that meets the normative needs of patients and their carers, and improves immediately and cost-effectively the response of the health service. This new approach to the prevention and clinical management of a chronic disease has the potential to deliver real value for money and a model of best practice that will be transferable to assist in managing and tackling cost-effectively the tsunami of chronic disease which is en route to every health system across the globe.
The Heartbeat Trust is an independent charity organisation, which is funded through grants and donations. It relies on the generosity of our patients, their families, the public and the corporate sector to financially support its work. We now have serious choices and decisions to make. We are anxious to share the benefits of our work across our health system. We are prepared to engage in new partnerships to enhance and expedite the delivery of this evidence based approach. We can help cut waiting lists, facilitate earlier discharges from the acute system and minimise unnecessary hospital outpatient and emergency department referrals. We have a first class team of people and a Board now ready to move forward. We need your advice and guidance.
So let’s support the smart way to making a further contribution and deliver a 21st century solution to this huge challenge.
Best wishes and thanks,
Dr Ambrose McLoughlin
Chairperson, The Heartbeat Trust