Canada’s first and only patient-led Heart Failure (HF) organisation has created a special patient and caregiver charter to help create awareness with Canadians in general and coordinate healthcare services for HF across the country. The hope is to build national standards through advocacy and education programs for those with or at risk of Heart Failure.
HF is a common, chronic heart disease on the rise in Canada, with more than 600,000 Canadians living with HF. Each year, 92,900 Canadians are newly diagnosed – a diagnosis that changes a person’s life forever. People living with HF experience an emotional and physical burden with the disease. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, and swelling of the ankles and feet. People living with HF experience changes to their lifestyle, may be unable to do all the things they used to and may need to rely more on others. Patients and their caregivers are overwhelmed with medical information, medications, appointments, and in some cases device therapy. It is important to note, heart failure does not have a cure. New feelings of fear, uncertainty and loneliness are common, but there is hope. By diagnosing and treating the potentially debilitating effects of HF at its early stages, people can live longer, fuller and more active lives.
“We’re thrilled to launch the Charter. It’s more important than ever to ensure a national standard of high-quality care for all Canadians living with heart failure,” said Marc Bains, Co-Founder, VP, HLF and heart transplant recipient who was diagnosed at age 23. “The Charter is a step forward to ensuring the patient voice is heard, and that all Canadians have access to consistent high-quality care that can improve their quality of life.”
So what is HF and why is it a disease? HF is when the heart can’t pump enough blood to fill the body with enough blood, or its pumping action isn’t strong enough, or both.
Due to the pandemic and people having to isolate themselves or those in Long-Term Care facilities are particularly vulnerable. As part of the HeartLife organisations work, they’ve created a patient journey map, which you can access here. This visual map is a great tool to help with awareness and with understanding the condition.
You might also be interested in this article on the healing power of touch.
Author: Alex Hurst is a staff writer for HUM@Nmedia, parent brand for Silver Magazine based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.