Heart Failure

It is estimated that close to 90,000 BC residents are currently living with heart failure. As a major cause of illness and death, heart failure costs the provincial health care system more than $500 million annually.

What are we measuring? 

  •  The number of heart failure patients readmitted to hospital for any reason  
     (whether related to heart failure or not)

Island Health success

Staff at the Heart Function Clinics at Royal Jubilee, Campbell River and Nanaimo Regional General hospitals assessed the journey of heart failure patients through the continuum of care to pinpoint where improvements can be made. Heart failure patients and practitioners shared their experiences from the warning signs to their current state of health through a “patient journey mapping” project in 2011, which highlighted areas for change, such as communication gaps and duplicated efforts.

A 2011 project collected data from Home and Community Care patients living with heart failure in the South Island using a tele-homecare monitoring system. The system records a patient’s weight, blood pressure and any adverse symptoms they might experience and sends the information back to the homecare nurse. A consistent approach to monitoring symptoms and focused attention on individual patients helped reduce readmission rates by 61%. The project will soon be expanding to Nanaimo and Parksville communities.

Education has also proved integral to delivering quality care to heart failure patients and reducing readmission rates. The work of a multidisciplinary Home and Community Care team in Duncan to improve patient confidence and ability to self-manage symptoms decreased hospital readmissions by 80% for clients who had been admitted to hospital in the month before participating in the project.

The Living Well with Heart Failure guide was developed for patients in 2011, providing information on daily precautions and warning signs, treatments and medications, dietary advice, coping with emotional distress, and more. Along with increased patient education, physicians, pharmacists and front line staff are integrating heart failure prevention and standardized protocols into their work.

Learn More from the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council.

BCPSQC Heart Failure Backgrounder (PDF)