Despite the proven effectiveness of cardiac rehabilitation programmes in reducing readmissions and risk of death from heart disease, attendance varies widely across the UK and is generally poor. An NIHR-funded trial involving researchers from PenCLAHRC has found that home-based rehabilitation for people with heart failure improves quality of life at 12 months compared with usual care.
216 people with heart failure, predominantly men with an average age of 70, were recruited from primary and secondary care in the UK, for a home-based programme. The programme, facilitated by a trained cardiac nurse or physiotherapist and developed from health behaviour change theory, was co-developed with patients, caregivers and clinicians. Participants were supported in their rehabilitation via face-to-face and telephone sessions, home-based exercise programmes and a patient progress tracker. Support was also offered to caregivers to help them better understand heart failure and the importance of their own physical and mental well-being when providing care.
The study found that 90% of participants remained in the programme - more than double the average attendance rate for hospital-based rehabilitation and that the average cost, estimated at £418 per participant, fell well within the National Health Service tariff for cardiac rehabilitation in England.
The study concluded that home-based cardiac rehabilitation offers an affordable and safe option for patients, clinicians and healthcare commissioners, with higher levels of participation than have been seen previously in hospital-based programmes.
Read the NIHR signal here