Heart Failure Awareness Week may not have the status of other awareness weeks but with almost a million people in the UK living with the life-limiting condition and one death every three minutes caused by heart and circulatory disease, it does a vital job in promoting its awareness.
Community Heart Failure Specialist Nurses at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT) like Sarah Warr, treat patients at specialist clinics and in their own homes. Sarah tells us why: “It’s about keeping patients well, out of hospital and looking after them safely in their home environment to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions, which in turn helps our colleagues in the acute sector.”
One patient that Sarah sees is Jamie Wilding, 29 from Harpenden, who despite being diagnosed with Heart Failure and told by specialists he had a year to live, has been determined to make the most of whatever time he has left. This has included raising money for Heart failure charity Pumping Marvellous with an epic climb of the O2.
Jamie was also on the road with the charity for their famous ‘Suck a Lemon’ challenge, to raise both awareness and money for people living with the disease. The ‘Twistin’ My Lemon Van’ will be pulled in to Gossoms End community hospital on 8 May where HCT staff joined him for the challenge.
What is Jamie’s goal for Heart Failure Awareness week? It’s simple, with the British Heart Foundation stating that survival after a diagnosis of Heart Failure in the United Kingdom lags behind serious diseases such as cancer, Jamie says: “we need to raise as much awareness as possible and in the meantime if we also raise funds for such a good cause then that’s a bonus!”
Clinical and Operational Lead for Community Cardiology at HCT, Cary’s Barton, gives us more startling information on the disease: “It’s hard to believe, yet Heart Failure has a higher mortality rate than most cancers and a lot of people just don’t know about it, so we really need to raise awareness so we can support patients better.”