Improving care for heart health

As WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) gets ready to launch an awareness campaign encouraging people to seek support and manage their heart health, hear CEO Learne Durrington talk about the organisation’s increasing focus on improving care for those living with chronic heart failure.

In the January 2020 Better Health Together video, Ms Durrington sat down with the ABC Health Report’s Dr Norman Swan to discuss the opportunities WAPHA was exploring for collaborative action on chronic heart failure.

The two discuss:

  • the significant burden of disease chronic heart failure represents in the Western Australian community, which is even more significant in country areas and among the Aboriginal community.
  • The opportunity to shift the focus of care more towards management of patients with chronic heart failure in primary care, with appropriate support from the acute and community care sectors
  • The evidence of unmet need in specific communities across Western Australia, as indicated by WAPHA’s needs assessment work
  • The strength of the evidence-base for primary care involvement in the multidisciplinary care of patients with chronic heart failure
  • The opportunity to shape a collaboration with state health services and partners, to translate evidence into practice for the benefit of this important patient cohort.

Ms Durrington said WAPHA’s approach aligns with the WA Government’s Sustainable Health Review which aims to decrease potentially preventable hospitalisations by strengthening the role of primary care in prevention, early intervention and ongoing management of these patients in the primary care setting.

“We know there’s strong links between heart failure and depression,” she said.

“So it’s not only people’s physical health that matters, but also their mental health, when they have heart disease.

“So we’re also interested in trying to pursue not only good primary care responses, but ones that acknowledge that at times people may also need good mental health interventions to help them manage their lives well.”

A multi-partner program of activity, involving WAPHAtaking a lead role in facilitation and co-ordination action for the primary care component, sits within the Australian Government’s PHN Program Performance and Quality Framework.

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