Introduction: Social isolation in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) is an adverse prognostic factor. This paper reports the creation of a supportive patient/carer network (Heart Failure Support Service), led by a voluntary sector/National Health Service (NHS) partnership which involved volunteer befriending, regular patient and carer forum and a newsletter. The project: Over 3. years, 37 volunteers were 'befrienders' to over 50 individuals with CHF. A thorough training and matching process ensured that the first befriending visit was a positive experience. 100% of patients found the visits from the volunteer worthwhile and said they would recommend the service to other patients. Prior to the first patient-carer forum, 200 questionnaires were sent out with a 56% response rate, 44% of respondents believed that a forum and a newsletter would be valued. Over a period of 3. years, 12 quarterly meetings were held with an average attendance of 30-40 per meeting. The newsletter (current circulation > 800 per quarter) contributed to self-management and encouraged communication between professionals and patients-carers. Conclusions: The Heart Failure Support Service (volunteers, forum and newsletter) created a supportive patient-carer network and represents a successful voluntary sector/NHS partnership.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the help of the patients and their carers for the success of these initiatives and completion of feedback forms. Funding from Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland and the Big Lottery Fund is gratefully acknowledged.
- Chronic heart failure
- Voluntary sector