A novel heart failure care pathway developed during the pandemic
Mark Green, Heart Failure Nurse Specialist, Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (Mark.Green@porthosp.nhs.uk) was runner up in the Cardiovascular Nurse of the Year category of the BJN Awards 2021
The looming presence of COVID-19 threatened specialist nursing services across the UK, with many heart failure nurse specialist (HFNS) teams downsized or even mothballed as members were redeployed to help with increased pressures elsewhere (McDonald, 2021). This was concerning as data from Italy and New York suggested that COVID-19 and heart failure could lead to an adverse prognosis (Bader et al, 2021). This left patients and their families with an immediate withdrawal of their support networks, accompanied by decreased access to primary care at the worst possible time. Fortunately, despite growing staffing pressures within the hospital, the cardiology consultant and operational management teams protected our HFNS service from such reductions. Although COVID-19 threatened many other services, at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (PHU) it was a catalyst for change and, with strong support from the heart failure consultant team, COVID-19 inspired the recalibration of our service to better meet patients' needs.
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