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Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2010 Sep;9(3):181-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcnurse.2009.12.001. Epub 2010 Jan 15.

The use of innovative methods designed to relieve social isolation in patients with chronic heart failure; volunteer befriending, forums and a newsletter.

Author information

1
Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, 65 North Castle Street, Edinburgh, EH2 3LT, United Kingdom. louise.peardon@chss.org.uk

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Social isolation in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) is an adverse prognostic factor. This paper reports the creation of a supportive patient/carer network (Heart Failure Support Service), led by a voluntary sector/National Health Service (NHS) partnership which involved volunteer befriending, regular patient and carer forum and a newsletter.

THE PROJECT:

Over 3 years, 37 volunteers were 'befrienders' to over 50 individuals with CHF. A thorough training and matching process ensured that the first befriending visit was a positive experience. 100% of patients found the visits from the volunteer worthwhile and said they would recommend the service to other patients. Prior to the first patient-carer forum, 200 questionnaires were sent out with a 56% response rate, 44% of respondents believed that a forum and a newsletter would be valued. Over a period of 3 years, 12 quarterly meetings were held with an average attendance of 30-40 per meeting. The newsletter (current circulation >800 per quarter) contributed to self-management and encouraged communication between professionals and patients-carers.

CONCLUSIONS:

The Heart Failure Support Service (volunteers, forum and newsletter) created a supportive patient-carer network and represents a successful voluntary sector/NHS partnership.

PMID:
20080063
DOI:
10.1016/j.ejcnurse.2009.12.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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