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Mobile heart clinics continuing to provide vital care for patients during COVID-19

Life-saving heart scans are continuing within the community during the outbreak of COVID-19 thanks to dedicated cardiac specialists.

In response to the pandemic, the Community Cardiac Team are now taking their Echo Diagnostic Clinics into the homes of their patients to ensure they continue to receive the care and treatment they need.

The community cardiac team see patients who are referred by their GP with suspected heart failure, and a number of assessments are carried out before finding the right way to care for them.

Liana Shirley, Senior Cardiac Imaging Specialist, said: “When the country went into lockdown we then started telephone triaging our patients as many of them were shielding.

“At the end of April we realised that the pandemic was going to affect us long term and we realised that we needed to see these patients in person to adequately assess them. It was then we decided that we would start taking our clinics into the patient’s home.” 

Liana, and her colleague, Cardiac Imaging Specialist, Hannah Jones, then began to visit those patients who could be deemed with increased risk of deterioration due to heart failure and possibly end up requiring hospital admission.

One of the patients the team have assessed is 80-year-old Ann Inns who was referred to the service by her GP.

She said: “I have been worried for some time that I may have problems with my heart again and the current situation with COVID-19 has made my anxieties around this worse.

“When I heard the team would come and see me at home I immediately felt relieved.

“The waiting is the worst part if you think something is wrong with you, so I was happy that when they carried out my assessment I was able to have the results straight away.

“It’s a fantastic service and I’m extremely grateful to them for checking everything was ok to put my mind at rest.”

Liana said it was important to continue to see these patients so they receive a diagnosis and treatment.

She added: “All the patients that we have seen have been so grateful for these visits, it has not only provided a diagnosis of heart failure in some with a management plan but it has also given the reassurance if the scan is normal. 

“We have had nothing but compliments and positive feedback. For some we are the first contact that they have had for weeks. 

“We are trying to reiterate that it is so important that patients still seek advice if they are unwell. 

“I’d also like to reassure all of our patients that when carrying out clinical assessments and performing scans in their homes that we will be making sure that we are wearing appropriate PPE. We always adhere to strict safety protocols to ensure maximum safety during these stressful times in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”