The role of the Cardiovascular Public Health Nurse entails primary and secondary prevention of coronary heart disease. Primary prevention involves delivering Heart Health Lifestyle clinics while secondary prevention involves visiting patients at home as well as delivering cardiac support groups. In the late 1990s, cardiac rehabilitation services gain momentum in Ireland due to the strategy Building Healthier Hearts. Currently, the National Cardiovascular Health Strategy 2010-2019 suggests that cardiac services are greatly overstretched due in part to people surviving acute cardiac conditions and living long with chronic cardiac conditions.
The purpose of this evaluation was to describe one aspect of the role of the Cardiovascular Public Health Nurse and to identify ways of improving the service. The home visit was explored from the patients¿ perspective as this is an area of growing demand by the Cardiovascular Public Health Nurse.
A 10 item questionnaire was designed consisting of open-ended and closed-ended questions. The study population included adults with a diagnosis of myocardial infarction, angina, coronary artery bypass grafting, valve replacement, percutaneous coronary intervention and/or coronary artery stenting. All potential participants received the questionnaire by mail with a cover letter outlining the purpose and requirement of this study. Consent was implied by the completion and return of the questionnaire. Anonymity was assured and all questionnaires coded.
A total of 54 completed questionnaires were returned. The population reviewed were predominantly male with a mean age of 64 years. Half of the participants were living in rural areas, 39% were living in suburban areas with the minority of participants living in urban areas. Participants identified three categories that were instrumental from the home visits namely psychological support, education and personal care. The Cardiovascular Public Health Nurse was described by patients as significant in their recovery. From the open-ended questions participants¿ excerpts describe in their own words the help and reassurance they received from this nurse visiting them at home.Conclusion This evaluation from the experience of people, who suffered a cardiac event, is informative to the role of the Cardiovascular Public Health Nurse and service planning. Cardiovascular Public Health Nurse contact with cardiac patients within the first few weeks following discharge from hospital enables their recovery. Many patients experience anxiety and depression following a cardiac event and it is important to identify people susceptible to anxiety and/or low mood early.