Case study from Heart Failure Policy Toolkit

Integrated care: Darlington Integrated Heart Failure Service

29 September, 2015

Darlington Integrated Heart Failure Service is a dedicated heart failure service built around an alliance of primary care and secondary care staff, people with heart failure (HF) and carers. Services involved include palliative care, counselling and voluntary social care agencies.

The Integrated Heart Failure Service offers a weekly diagnostic clinic run by a GP specialist and a heart failure nurse to ensure an accurate and timely diagnosis of HF. People who have been referred by their doctors are assessed at the clinic with a range of HF diagnostic tools recommended by NICE clinical guidelines, including an echocardiogram, chest X-ray and electrocardiogram (ECG).

For people with a confirmed diagnosis of HF, a management plan is created. This includes information materials and education for the person with HF and their carers, evidence-based treatment options and, if necessary, a referral to tertiary care.

Other services for people with HF include symptom management, treatment adjustments, advice and palliative support.

What has it achieved?

In the first year, a total of 217 patients were seen in the diagnostics clinics, of whom 38% were diagnosed with HF and 37% with other cardiovascular diseases. A survey among people using the service found a very high satisfaction with the services offered (around 95%).1

Links, references, and key reading

  1. Pearson M, Cowie M. Managing chronic heart failure: learning from best practice: Royal College of Physicians, 2005.
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