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Thursday, 07 November 2019

Trust wins award for programme of screening for serious heart condition

Trust wins award for programme of screening for serious heart condition

The Trust’s Quality Improvement and Innovation (QII) Steering Group has won the Team of the Year award from the Arrhythmia Alliance.

The team was lauded for their work creating a programme to quickly and easily screen for atrial fibrillation, a serious heart condition, amongst service users, carers and staff.

The quick, simple test in pop-up clinics around the Trust means that if required, medical treatment for the condition can be sought, preventing serious complications later in life.

Research has shown that people with a severe mental illness are more likely to suffer from physical health problems and have a life expectancy which is 15-20 years shorter. This work is part of the Trust’s ambition to increase the number of quality years of life our service users have.

Quality Improvement project manager Sarah Galloway said: “Our patients, their carers and our staff may not know they have this condition and this 30-second screen will indicate whether there is a problem.

“If you know you have atrial fibrillation, you are less likely to suffer from problems such as stroke if you receive medical help to help prevent these complications.”

The screen involves a credit-card sized device with two buttons on which the user holds two fingers for 30 seconds. The device then indicates whether there is a problem to be investigated.

It is a much quicker and simpler screen than the traditional 12-point electrocardiogram (ECG). This requires the patient to undress for 12 adhesive pads to be attached to the back and chest, which takes longer and requires more specialist equipment. The 30-second test has been found to appeal more to patients who do not wish to undergo the bigger procedure.

The Trust has screened more than 400 people so far, and detected four cases of previously undiagnosed atrial fibrillation. The programme was praised for forming its Steering Group to ensure governance safety and utilise experience and skills across the Trust which included mental and physical health nurses, Quality Improvement specialists, information technology experts and pharmacists.

The project was developed using Quality Improvement methodology and a testing and learning approach before it was rolled out throughout services.

The team was presented with its award at the Arrhythmia Alliance Excellence in Practice awards on 7 October 2019.