Learn More About Our Health Authority Partners: Showcasing Interior Health

Developing Our Regional Heart Failure Program

Interior Health (IH) has a long standing history
of providing specialty cardiac services across the
continuum of care. Similar to other health regions, heart
failure (HF) is a major contributor of hospitalizations
in people 65+ and approximately 19,000 individuals are
living with HF. Management of this chronic disease is

IH is the second largest health region in the province
spanning 215,000 sq km. Communities are separated
by hundreds of kilometers and regional personnel have
often worked in isolation.Travel for patients and families
to attend specialist appointments is complicated by
geographics and weather conditions. These factors were
considered in the development of an IH regional HF plan.

We began by developing a regional HF team with
interprofessional representation. The goals were to:

1) provide/ optimize patient care closer-to-home,
while simultaneously reducing the burden to
patients and the healthcare system
2) collaborate on HF planning
3) foster an environment that facilitated a regional
4) develop regional standardization of HF programs
and services
5) provide safe, effective, equitable and timely access
to care

The IH HF team first established guiding principles
which were instrumental in our success. Additionally
the defining of a baseline of services for HF programs                                                                      physician supported/ nurse-led HF clinics and the use of
tele-home monitoring* (THM) enabled the provision of
equitable services to all clients regardless of location and
provided a foundation for regional standardization.

Since commencing the IH HF collaborative in 2010/11
teams have implemented four new HF clinics, located
in Kamloops, Trail, Vernon and Cranbrook and have
expanded services in three pre-existing HF clinics;
Kelowna, Penticton and Nelson. Utilization rates for
THM are 89% and patient referrals have increased by
nearly 50%. Today patients are receiving care closerto-
home, or at home, through the use of THM. THM
facilitates patients’ self-management so they can gain
a greater understanding and subsequent management
of their condition. This ultimately leads to greater
independence and quality of life, reduced emergency
visits and hospitalizations.

*THM : Patients transmit, by phone, their B/P, O2
saturation and weight to a central location whereby
the clinic staff review the data and if required contact
the patient and physician to discuss transmitted data.

The IH HF team is very involved in initiatives that
enhance patient and family knowledge and learning
as evidenced in the development of the “Living
with Heart Failure” e-learning model that was
released in the fall of 2011. www.bcheartfailure.ca/
for-patients-and- families/e-learning-module-on-hf

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