The inclusion of a proposed Heart Failure Integrated Service for Donegal in projects set to benefit from the €20m Sláintecare Integration Fund has been welcomed by Saolta.
The new service will focus on community care and integrating the services at Letterkenny University Hospital with services provided by CHO1 in Donegal in line with the Sláintecare goals of shifting care to the community, reducing waiting lists and improving experiences for patients.
The proposed Heart Failure Integrated Service will comprise of two teams of nurses who specialise in treating patients with heart failure – both teams will be split between the hospital and the community.
The project will also include a cardiac physiologist based 80% of the time in the community and 20% of the time in Letterkenny University Hospital.
It will support the early diagnosis of heart failure by providing community clinics where patients can access echocardiograms; improved access to consultant cardiologist support for GPs; education of patients and families in caring for someone with heart failure; and fast-tracking patients who need urgent assessment.
Cathy Farrell, Heart Failure Clinical Nurse Specialist at Letterkenny University Hospital says research has shown that when patients have access to a structured Heart Failure Programme, they are less likely to need hospitalisation and will have a better quality of life.