CARE clinic in the running for national honour

Published: 12 September 2016 at 15:02

Hospital staff standin in front of hospital quipment

Initiative backed by Anglia Ruskin Health Partnership shortlisted for HSJ award

Untitled PageA new service to improve after-care for patients who have had a cardiac arrest has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award. The CARE (Care After REsuscitation) clinic was set up at The Essex Cardiothoracic Centre (CTC) at Basildon University Hospital to help patients who suffer anxiety and depression following the shock and trauma of a cardiac arrest.

The project was launched with financial and research support from Anglia Ruskin Health Partnership, which works to promote improved health and social care for the population of Essex. The idea for the CARE clinics came from Dr Thomas Keeble, consultant cardiologist at the CTC and senior research fellow at Anglia Ruskin University.

It was announced today (12 September) that the innovative service has been shortlisted in the 2016 Health Service Journal awards, under the Compassionate Patient Care category.

Dr Keeble explained: 

“Life after cardiac arrest can place an enormous psychological burden on the patient and their family. Around the UK, expert follow-up care for these patients can be erratic.

“The signs of anxiety and depression, that understandably can follow such a traumatic event, are often not recognised and this can have a devastating effect on people who have had a cardiac arrest, and their close friends and relatives. They may be afraid to return to the place where the cardiac arrest happened, or be too anxious to go back to work.

“Last year, the CTC treated more than 100 patients who had a cardiac arrest out of hospital, some of whom experienced severe psychological difficulties as a result. We wanted to find a way to improve their care.”

The CARE service provides:
- Information to patients about the possible consequences of cardiac arrest and how to cope
- Seven day a week helpline staffed by senior critical care nurses to provide advice and support for patients at home
- Follow-up appointment six weeks after discharge, to assess emotional well-being of patient and family
- Psychological and cognitive assessment of patients, with their consent
- Referral to consultant psychiatrist (based in CTC and provided by South Essex Partnership Trust) and psychiatric services if appropriate
- Further assessment six months after patient goes home

The CARE clinic was launched as a pilot, and the effects on patients were carefully audited. The results show a measurable improvement in the wellbeing of patients and their families.

Dr Keeble added: 

“The success of the CARE clinics in improving patient care is the result of dedicated teamwork within Basildon Hospital, and with other partners, most notably Anglia Ruskin Health Partnership and South Essex Partnership Trust.

“It’s a testament to everyone’s hard work and commitment that we have been shortlisted for this award.”

Professor James Hampton-Till, Deputy Dean for the Faculty of Medical Science at Anglia Ruskin University, said: 

“Our partnership with The Essex Cardiothoracic Centre and SEPT on this work will make a real difference to the lives of patients and their families.

“Anglia Ruskin University works closely with NHS Trusts across the East of England to assist with innovation and patient outcomes and we are thrilled that the HSJ has recognised the value of this pioneering research.”