Heart patients recover at home with new treatment

Lynne Blowers (patient), Eric Blowers (patient’s husband), Dr Lisa Yung (Consultant Cardiologist), Joanne Passmore (Heart Failure Specialist Nurse), Michelle O’Neill (MAAT/TAIRU Matron), Elaine Preston (MAAT sister), Helen Greedus (MAAT Sister), Charlotte Mills (MAAT Sister).

1 November 2019

Heart failure patients in Torbay and South Devon are avoiding long stays in hospital thanks to a successful pilot scheme that’s seen NHS integrated teams joining forces and using a drug in an innovative way.

As part of the pilot, a small group of patients with heart failure have been treated as day case outpatients and, as a result, are enjoying spending more time at home recovering instead of prolonged periods in hospital. The successful pilot scheme, which is being run by Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, is also freeing up beds at Torbay Hospital.

The Trust is one of the most advanced in the country in meeting patients’ wishes to spend as much time as possible outside of a hospital setting by adopting new ways of working.

The small scale pilot has shown that heart failure patients, who would normally spend weeks in hospital being treated for a serious build-up of fluid in the legs due to their heart failure worsening, can now be treated for fluid build-up during daily short visits to hospital and then be home the same day. 

Joanne Passmore, Heart Failure Specialist Nurse at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have found that heart failure patients prefer to have this safe and effective treatment in a day-case setting, rather than as a traditional hospital inpatient.  We are currently assessing more heart failure patients to determine if their care can be delivered in this innovative way.”

She said this new way of working, involving giving the drug furosemide intravenously, is saving the equivalent of each patient spending an average of 17 days in a hospital bed.

Heart patient, Lynne Blowers, was treated in this way, allowing her to spend more time at home with her husband. She said: “Whilst being on a ward is reassuring, there is nothing like sleeping in your own bed. Taking out a few hours each day from home and having treatment is better for the mind and leads to a speedy recovery.”

Mrs Blowers was treated at the Torbay Hospital Assessment Investigation and Rehabilitation Unit (TAIRU) in the morning and was back home with husband Eric by mid-afternoon.

Mrs Blowers and other patients are treated by a team of various professionals, including Heart Failure Specialist Nurses, Consultant Cardiologists and the Medical Admissions and Avoidance Team (MAAT). 

The pilot came about when the heart failure and MAAT teams proposed a change of practice to treat stable patients who were not confined to bed as day cases. The out patient receives daily review by the heart failure specialist nurse and all prescribed treatment is given by the MAAT team. On-going care is discussed with the Consultant Cardiologist with the patient truly at the centre of the decision-making. 

The MAAT team was created as another innovative and effective way of keeping people out of hospital by treating them in the community, including in their own homes. 

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