The use of innovative methods designed to relieve social isolation in patients with chronic heart failure; volunteer befriending, forums and a newsletter

Louise Peardon, Diane Yellowlees, Rebekah Pratt, Janet Reid, Maureen O'Donnell, Andrea Ness, Campbell Chalmers, Stephen J. Leslie, Martin A. Denvir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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 (C) 2009 European Society of Cardiology Published by Elsevier B V All rights reserved

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-187
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean journal of cardiovascular nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010

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