Active Hearts Project wins Queens Nursing Institute Award

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT) is delighted to have secured three Queen’s Nursing Institute Awards, out of a total of 11 awarded across the UK. The Northern is the only Trust in Northern Ireland to have been awarded with the Queens Nursing Institute Awards which are set up to help community nurses deliver improvements in patient care.

Active Hearts, one of the successful projects, has been designed to enhance the existing heart failure service in the Mid-Ulster area. At present, relatively few patients with heart failure get the opportunity to attend a cardiac rehabilitation programme. However, there is growing evidence that exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation is safe and beneficial for this group of patients. The benefits include improved exercise capacity and quality of life, and reduced symptoms. The Active Hearts project will involve a number of patients who, if suitable, will be invited to attend a seven week group programme in The Mid-Ulster Hospital, Magherafelt. Each programme includes classes twice a week of structured exercise, education and psychological support. Following a risk assessment, each patient will have an individual programme of exercise devised for them by a qualified physiotherapist.

Hilary Clarke, Heart Failure Nurse, Northern Trust said: “Cardiac rehabilitation has been shown to significantly improve outcomes for patients with heart failure. The programme will offer a range of different types of exercise in a safe and supervised environment to meet the needs of all the patients. The patients will be taught to recognise their limits and their self-confidence and motivation levels should improve. The social aspect of the programme, as well as the education and support that is provided is vital, as patients with heart failure can feel anxious or depressed. After completion of the programme, patients should be able to include safe and effective exercise in their daily routine”. She added, “It is hoped that hospital admissions for patients involved in the programme may be reduced or avoided”.

Heart failure can occur when the heart’s pumping ability is impaired. It is usually a long-term condition which requires early detection, appropriate treatments, close monitoring and follow up. Despite improving heart failure treatments, the condition still tends to be progressive and can have poor survival rates.

Anne Pearson, Director of Programmes at the QNI said, ‘We are delighted to be working with this new group of project leaders to deliver some exciting and innovative clinical projects in the community. These projects will help to improve patient care, and will also contribute to nursing practice more widely, and the development of new clinical leaders.

‘This year’s projects represent an incredibly challenging and diverse group, which reflects the range of vital work that community nurses do across the whole spectrum of primary care.’

Each of the three projects awarded will benefit from up to £5000 in direct financial support, which pays for necessary equipment, materials, training, and the hire of facilities.

Pictured: Hilary Clarke, Heart Failure Nurse, Ruth Barr, Physiotherapist and Denise Duggan, Cardiac Rehabilitation Co-Ordinator.

14th April 2015

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