Heart Failure Awareness Day – What is Sandwell Doing?

8th May 2013

Sandwell Community Heart Failure Service is a specialist nursing team, providing support, education and advice for patients, relatives and carers in Sandwell.

Part of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust, the team works closely with hospital cardiology teams, GPs and others teams to ensure continuity of care for patients diagnosed with heart failure and are also supported by the charity, the British Heart Foundation.

Unfortunately, patients admitted to hospital with heart failure tend to have severe heart failure symptoms at advanced stages, so the European Society of Cardiology and British Society for Heart Failure are promoting a Heart Failure Awareness Day Friday 10th May 2013 to ensure the public are aware of the importance of recognising heart failure, getting an accurate diagnosis   to receive the right treatment  which can dramatically increase survival and support patients independence.

Sandwell Community Heart Failure Service are aiming to spread the message across the borough with their first Heart Failure Awareness day event at the Lyng Health Centre, second floor, Frank Fisher Way, West Bromwich. Between 10am and 3pm they will have an information stand providing BHF information related to heart disease, including healthy lifestyle and heart failure signs and symptoms, guess the weight of the wet sponge competition, and advice from heart failure specialist nurses.

The impact of quality of life for heart failure is worse than most cancers and the common signs and symptoms for heart failure can occur suddenly, or develop slowly over weeks or months. Some vital symptoms to be aware of include are shortness of breath when resting or during activity, swelling of ankles, feet, legs or tummy and unexplained tiredness.

In Sandwell, it has been estimated that 2500 people are requiring support with the diagnosis of heart failure at any given time (according to age and Ischaemic heart disease risk statistics). The heart failure team receive on average 10 referrals a week, with ages ranging from 30-100.

During 2010/2011 in Sandwell the emergency admission rate for heart failure was 91.6 per 100,000, which is significantly higher than England (59.8 per 100,000) and higher centres with industry (81.6 per 100,000). However, the figures for Sandwell have decreased in comparison to data from 2003/2004, whereby the admission rate has fallen by 21.5%- and the impact for this includes the work of the heart failure team.

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