Clinicians and staff at the Royal Stoke University Hospital are throwing their weight behind a campaign to raise awareness about heart failure, its symptoms and ways to manage the condition as part of Heart Failure Awareness Week.
UHNM Heart Failure team is supporting the ‘Suck a Lemon Challenge” led by Pumping Marvellous Foundation - a national heart failure charity while launching its pilot project called Smart with your Heart to help reduce the number of people with chronic long term heart failure from being readmitted to hospital.
UHNM has been awarded £1.1million to work in partnership with three digital companies, using their new, commercially available technology and the Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, including the community heart failure team.
Around 300 heart failure patients from across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent will be asked if they wish to take part in the project, which combines the three digital services and then asks the participants what they thought of the experience.
The NHS in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire has led the way in the use of telehealth technology, including the pioneering Flo telehealth system, which was developed locally. The use of this technology will enable patients to respond to text messages asking how they are feeling compared to their last text message and they will be more closely monitored and will be able to more smoothly access care in the community, should they need it.
The second digital service will give patients exclusive access to an online health library to help them improve their own self-care behaviours. Information provided will be approved by their doctor and be specific for them.
Patients can be referred to trusted third sector or voluntary sector organisations, such as bereavement counselling or citizens advice using the third service which will also offer patients opportunities to engage in community groups and activities such as dance classes, allotment working or walking groups.
Dr Dargoi Satchithananda, UHNM Consultant Cardiologist, said: “Heart failure can be a devastating condition, and we are pleased to be able to support Pumping Marvellous Foundation’s fun campaign to raise awareness in the way we view and manage the condition.
“Along with our partners we look forward to recruiting our first patients on our pilot during the next couple of weeks and being able to support them to better manage their conditions at home and avoid any unnecessary admissions to hospital.”
Members of the heart failure team as well as Dr Satchithananda, will take part in the ‘Suck a Lemon Challenge’ on Friday 10 May at 9am. The challenge was the brainchild of a heart failure patient to demonstrate, in her words, “that heart failure sucks.”
To join in, contenders must film themselves biting into the bitter fruit saying, “I’m taking the ‘Suck a Lemon Challenge’ because heart failure sucks!” and share the video on social media with the hashtags #SuckALemonChallenge and #HeartFailureSucks.