CEO, Pumping Marvellous Foundation
Heart failure patients have been significantly affected as a result of the pandemic. The Pumping Marvellous Foundation released a new patient survey (published in European Society of Cardiology’s Heart Failure Journal) regarding the impact of COVID-19 on services.
The research was designed by patients with heart failure specialists to analyse why people are avoiding hospitals and to ascertain patients’ views regarding newer models of care, such as telehealth.
Outcomes of the research
The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant anxiety amongst heart failure patients both regarding COVID-19 and heart failure. Despite older people having a predilection for more severe COVID-19 illness, anxiety is greater amongst younger patients (<60 years).
Cancellation or postponement of scheduled care appointments, investigations, procedures, prescription and monitoring services were implicated as sources of anxiety.
Amongst newer models of care, the majority (71%) chose the ‘one stop diagnostic HF clinic’, (a single visit incorporating heart failure consultant review and echocardiography). Tele-management was least popular with older patients, who may struggle with hearing impairment and this method of communication.
The study’s findings give very real insights into the lives of patients suffering from heart failure during the pandemic and the impact on their mental health.
Recommendations for the future
Dr Rajiv Sankaranarayanan Consultant Cardiologist, Heart Failure Clinical Lead (Aintree University Hospital, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) and lead study author says: “It’s crucial that mistakes of the first wave aren’t repeated such as a unilateral focus or shift of resources exclusively towards COVID in further waves, at the expense of other potentially life-threatening conditions. There must be clear communication with patients at local and national levels that all healthcare services remain fully accessible to diagnose and manage patients with heart failure and other conditions, not exclusively COVID-19.”
Nick Hartshorne-Evans, CEO & Founder of Pumping Marvellous, says: “Many patients with heart failure have been left behind due to disruption to their appointments, delayed access to treatment and counselling. The study’s findings give very real insights into the lives of patients suffering from heart failure during the pandemic and the impact on their mental health. We need to seriously digest this survey and act quickly, to prevent deaths that would normally be avoidable. It gives us an insight into what the future of heart failure services may look like.”