Friday 08 February 2019

Garden House Hospice Care appeals to patients’ hearts during Heart Awareness Month

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Did you know that Garden House Hospice Care provide dedicated care for patients with heart failure?

During national Heart Failure Awareness Month, we are reaching out to patients with heart failure who could benefit from the wide range of services available to them through Hospice support.

More than half a million people in the UK are living with Heart Failure. Symptoms include breathlessness, fatigue and weakness, swelling in the legs, ankles or feet, an irregular heart beat and reduced ability to exercise.

Garden House Hospice Care has partnered up with Isabel Hospice who care for people across eastern Hertfordshire, and the Lister Hospital in Stevenage to provide a more joined up service between heart failure patients and specialist palliative care.

Projects have included a six week Fatigue and Breathlessness course, specially adapted for patients with heart failure, providing an opportunity to learn more about diet, breathlessness, managing fatigue, sleep and relaxation.

Community health care professionals who are caring for patients with heart failure and their families are also kept updated through education events on recent advances in heart failure management, including the importance of offering hospice and palliative care support.

GHHC Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Dr Ros Marvin and May Pheasant, a dedicated heart failure nurse from Isabel Hospice provide weekly palliative care advice and support, at heart failure clinics at the Lister Hospital.

Dr Ros Marvin said:

“Hospices are not just about the last days of life, but about optimising patients’ lives in the weeks, months and years leading up to that.

“The aim of this programme is to raise awareness of our services in the community and in the cardiology teams to identify heart failure patients earlier, so we can support them with their symptoms – physically and psychologically. We want to make sure that people with heart failure are living as fully as they can every day for as long as they can.

“By reaching these patients through clinics and offering hospice support as well as courses to self-manage fatigue, breathlessness and wellness courses, we will help to improve their quality of life.”

Garden House Hospice Care provides integrated services for heart failure patients through the Hawthorne Day Service Centre, including: fatigue, breathlessness and wellness education sessions, weekly gym sessions, physiotherapy assessment clinics, complimentary therapies as well as counselling and support for carers and patients.

Patients can also choose to join in groups that improve their overall wellbeing such as horticulture, Sharing Stories, Relaxation, Tai Chi, the choir and are also invited to attend regular coffee mornings with their carers to meet others in similar circumstances.

Tony, 80, who has a heart complaint and suffers shortness of breath, explained how Garden House Hospice Care is helping him to live a fuller life.

Meet Tony

“I try to make my life as normal as possible. The heart failure course helped me to start doing exercises that I wouldn’t do myself at home. I learnt about diet and exercise and became friends with people who were going through the same thing as me. I definitely felt more spritely when I was going to get the bus home.

“I now come to Garden House Hospice Care for weekly physio sessions and do weights and leg exercises. This has improved my breathing, strength and general welfare. I can even go and play on the local Par 3 golf course whenever I get the opportunity.”

Patients can refer themselves to the Hospice or be referred by a health or social care professional.

For more information on services provided, contact the Hawthorne Day Services Centre at the Garden House Hospice Care on 01462 679540.