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Home rehabilitation helps people with heart failure achieve better quality of life

Posted on 11 October 2018

Researchers have found that a new rehabilitation programme, including simple chair-based exercises at home, could significantly improve the quality of life of thousands patients with heart failure.


The programme helps to increase participation in rehabilitation therapies for heart failure patients by bringing care into their own homes.

Approximately 900,000 people are affected by heart failure in the UK, costing the NHS £1bn per year. Although the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommend that all people with heart failure should receive rehabilitation, less than one in 10 do.

The new personalised programme, known as “Rehabilitation Enablement in Chronic Heart Failure” or “REACH-HF”, was co-designed by clinicians, academics, patients and caregivers to help increase participation in rehabilitation therapies for heart failure patients by bringing care into their own homes.

Quality of life

The programme, led by University of Exeter, included chair-based exercises developed by Professor Patrick Doherty  from the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York, and a manual with advice on lifestyle and medication. It also provided relaxation techniques designed to help patients and their caregivers come to terms with both the physical and psychological impact of heart failure.

For the study, researchers, monitored 216 patients with an average age of 70 who participated in the programme for 12 months. They found that the quality of life of patients on the programme was significantly improved compared to patients not undergoing rehabilitation.

The researchers also found that the programme is deliverable within NHS cost guidelines; the cost of the intervention was £418 per patient, lower than the £477 per patient that the NHS currently pays for rehabilitation.

Solution

Professor Doherty said: “The findings from REACH-HF represent a solution to a longstanding problem and inequality in the provision of rehabilitation services for patients with heart failure. The implementation plan for REACH-HF will impact on the quality of life of tens of thousands of patients with heart failure in the next five years.”

REACH-HF is specifically aimed at patients with heart failure with “reduced ejection fraction”, where their heart muscles do not contract as effectively as they should, resulting in poorer circulation of blood around the body. This affects approximately half of heart failure patients.

The study is published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

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About this research

This five year study received £2million in grant funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) with contributions from a number of clinical and academic partners from across the UK including the Universities of Exeter, York, Birmingham, Leicester and Dundee.

The study is published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

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