New Nurses Will Help Heart Patients Live To An Upbeat Rhythm

Patients suffering from heart rhythm disorders will now receive expert care thanks to new specialist nursing posts funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

A total of 32 new BHF Arrhythmia Care Coordinators have been appointed across England and Wales at 20 different sites in an innovative new scheme to give patients with heart rhythm conditions specialist support and care. The nurses will also help patients self-manage their condition through education and training.

Key objectives of the post are that:

  • Patients receive an effective and holistic assessment – making sure all their medical and emotional needs are discussed
  • All those who are part of the ‘care pathway’, including patients, families and carers, receive the education and training they need
  • Ongoing monitoring and auditing of the service takes place

The new nurses will be funded and trained by BHF for three years and will need to take tailored university courses to expand their knowledge on cardiac rhythm disorders.

Arrhythmia Care Coordinator Catherine Owen says: “I’m delighted the BHF has enabled me to provide this vital care. It is incredibly important that families who have sadly lost someone to sudden cardiac death – which can be a genetic heart rhythm disorder – get support when being screened for the condition themselves. It can cause terrible amounts of anxiety, but by offering care and information, I will be able to help families make it through.”

At least 1 million people in the UK have experienced a cardiac arrhythmia, the medical term for an irregular heartbeat or abnormal heart rhythm. That is a minimum of about 1 of every 85 members of the British population, from infants to the elderly, with a heart rate that occasionally or consistently beats too quickly, too slowly, abnormally or irregularly.1

Susie May, BHF Nurse Project Manager, says: “The employment of Arrhythmia Care Coordinators will truly help improve the treatment that patients with heart rhythm disorders receive. The support given to patients, their families and carers will provide comfort, reassurance and a better quality of life“.

The appointment of the nurses meets the objectives set out in Chapter 8 of the Government’s National Service Framework2 for heart disease and the evaluation of the posts is being carried out by the University of York.