End of life care for Cardiovascular patients

Bereavement

People with cardiovascular disease (CVD) are receiving suboptimal care at the end of life and are not dying in the place of their choice. Care for people with CVD at the end of life is poorer than that received by people with other conditions, such as cancer.

If individuals are recognised as approaching the end of their life there can be proper planning for this time, in line with their needs and wishes. The course of heart failure, however, is very hard to predict. Often a person with heart failure becomes very ill but then their condition improves again and this can happen several times. This means that people with heart failure are often not identified as needing end of life care.

The BHF has invested over £2 million in trialling models of care for improving end of life for people with CVD.

What needs to happen?

  • People must be identified for end of life care when they reach end stage heart failure, this may be months before they die.
  • Communication between clinicians and people with CVD at the end of life must improve.
  • All people with CVD who are identified as being at the end of life must be involved in their own, holistic, care assessment and planning.
  • Everyone with CVD at the end of life should be able to access free social care, to enable them to be cared for and die in the place of their choice.
  • Everyone with heart failure should have access to a heart failure specialist nurse at the end of life.

For more information, please see our End of Life Care Policy Statement or email [email protected] if you have any other questions