An innovative cardiology unit and a dedicated community heart failure nursing team are just some of the ways in which patients with cardiovascular disease are cared for across East Berkshire.
The Diuretic Lounge, situated within Wexham Park Hospital, opened its door to patients in June 2017 and is already improving services for people suffering with heart failure.
The lounge allows patients with symptoms of severe fluid retention resulting from their heart failure to return home after each daily course of treatment, rather than being admitted into hospital for several days. With emergency heart failure admissions on the increase, and lasting on average 10-14 days, being able to return home after treatment each day not only improves quality of life for patients but also reduces the risk of complications associated with long hospital stays.
Patients can expect to be weighed and have a specialist clinical assessment each day, have blood taken and be treated with intravenous diuretics. Patients are then monitored for a maximum of two hours following their daily dose, before going home. After the last administration of intravenous diuretics, patients are provided with a discharge letter and have their care transferred either to their GP or a community heart failure nurse.
The heart failure nursing team provides a community service to hundreds of patients across East Berkshire each year.
The service aims to improve the quality of life for patients with heart failure by helping them to manage their symptoms and medications. This then prevents people being admitted or readmitted to hospital unnecessarily as expert care and support is provided at home. The team also provides advice on exercise, diet and end of life care.
Approximately 600 to 700 new referrals are received by the team each year from a range of people and services such as acute Trusts and GPs as well as self-referrals. The referral criteria are:
- Adults aged 18+
- Registered with an NHS Berkshire GP
- With a diagnosis of heart failure confirmed by echocardiogram
East Berkshire resident Mrs Townsend was diagnosed with heart failure at the aged of 95. She is regularly visited by the heart failure nursing team at home. Click here to hear what she has to say about the service.
Photos: Pic 1: The Diuretic Lounge Pic 2: Heart failure nursing team photo from L to R – Jacky Hamilton, Denise Timmerman, Lucy Girdler-Heald and Sacha Scharff. There are three other members of the team – Francesca Jones, Jas Bola and Emilia Muronzi.