Condition of Heart Failure will affect 1 in 5 People in Ireland
New report finds treatment of Heart Failure is no longer a lost cause and recommends framework to improve lives of 90,000 affected
- Heart Failure is a serious, but forgotten, condition which carries a huge cost of €660 million per year to Irish society
- 10,000 people are newly diagnosed in Ireland per year and globally, the number of Heart Failure cases is expected to rise by 25% by 2030
- Heart Failure has worse prognosis than the most common forms of cancer
- Heart Failure is the leading cause of hospitalisations in Ireland1 yet just 7% of people in Ireland can identify symptoms of Heart Failure
The treatment of Heart Failure, a ‘forgotten’ condition, is no longer a lost cause, according to the authors of a new report entitled ‘Heart Failure Country Barometer: Ireland’. The report outlines four key policy priorities and calls on the Government to implement this framework to improve the lives of 90,000 people affected by Heart Failure.
Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources, Sean Kyne, TD officially launched, and contributed to, the report which, most importantly, provides solutions to this major health challenge which costs the state €660 million per year. Heart Failure, a serious and often debilitating chronic condition, has a worse prognosis than many of the most common forms of cancer and can lead to poor quality of life for those affected.
Speaking at the launch meeting, Minister Sean Kyne, TD said, “For too long Heart Failure has been the forgotten condition in health policy in Ireland, despite its impact on patients’ lives and the economy. Today, we have outlined the current situation in Ireland and highlighted the unmet needs of both the medical and patient Heart Failure community. The burden of Heart Failure will only increase in years to come so we must make Heart Failure a truly national priority now, and implement the recommendations put forward in this Barometer report.”
The ‘Heart Failure Country Barometer: Ireland’ report, developed by Croí, the Heartbeat Trust, and supported by Novartis, with contributions from medical professionals, patients and advocacy experts, highlights four key policies to prioritise and recommends how to achieve them:
- Make Heart Failure a national priority: Explicitly mention Heart Failure within existing chronic disease policies and ensure there are sufficient resources to implement the HSE’s National Clinical Program for Heart Failure on a national level, with adequate funding for both GP and hospital care.
- Prioritise speedy diagnosis and treatment: Ensure that patients with symptoms of heart failure are diagnosed as early as possible, without delay.
- Ensure consistent and coordinated patient care: Create a coordinated, community-based national program between the hospital and community care at general practice level to provide patients greater continuity of care and encourage patient self-management.
- Increase awareness and understanding of Heart Failure: Support a national HF prevention program by raising public awareness of the risk of developing HF and ensuring access to high quality information and support for both the public and the medical profession.
About the Heart Failure Country Barometer: Ireland report:
This report was written by the Health Policy Partnership and supported by Novartis. Also contributing to the content of the report were: Professor Ken MacDonald, Consultant Cardiologist St Vincent’s University Hospital & HSE National Clinical Lead in Heart Failure; Dr. Pat Nash, Consultant Cardiologist, University Hospital Galway; Michael Delapp, Heart Failure patient; Claire O’Connell, Heart Failure patient; Liz Kileen, Community Heart Failure Clinical Nurse Specialist, Galway; Fidelma Hanley, Heart Failure Nurse Specialist, Sligo General Hospital; Dr Joe Gallagher, General Practitioner; and Neil Johnson, Chief Executive, Croí.
Policy Priorities and Recommendations:
- Explicitly mention HF within existing chronic disease policies and ensure there are sufficient resources to implement the National Clinical Program for Heart Failure (HSE) on a national level (adequately funding both General Practice and hospital care:
- HF needs much greater recognition within Ireland’s national cardiovascular disease strategy.
- Implementation and resourcing of national plans and strategies for HF is inadequate.
- Ensure that patients with symptoms of heart failure are diagnosed earlier, without delay:
- Diagnosis of HF is often late, or suboptimal due to inadequate availability of diagnostic tools, particularly at GP level. Improved strategies for detecting HF earlier in its development can delay its progression.
- Develop a national rapid access community diagnostic service, for new onset HF – with better utilisation of new technologies.
- Provide high quality information and support on the particular issue of symptom recognition
- (e.g. to the public) and diagnosis (e.g. to medical professionals). Currently very few people
- would recognise the symptoms of HF if they had them.
- Create a coordinated, community-based national program between the hospital and community care at general practice level to provide patients greater continuity of care and encourage patient self-management:
- We need better models of shared care and clinical programs and guidelines that set out the roles and responsibilities of GP and specialist services.
- We need the best available care to be consistently provided to all patients with HF through efficient use of resources.
- Technology (e.g. remote monitoring) needs to be used for the long term management of HF patents in the community to prevent more frequent hospital re-admissions and improve quality of life and survival.
- We need specialist HF units offering multidisciplinary care – they should be the standard of care for HF patients.
- Support a national HF prevention program by raising public awareness of the risk of developing HF and ensuring access to high quality information and support for both the public and the medical profession:
- We need public campaigns to raise awareness of HF and its risk factors (e.g. heart muscle damage, cardiomyopathy) – this will be crucial to enable better prevention and lifestyle changes to prevent progression to HF.
- People with risk factors for developing HF (e.g. high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and a prior heart attack) should be screened and optimally managed as this can reduce the overall cost of care that occurs once patients develop HF.