New health and wellbeing programme aims to help people in Morecambe and Lancaster to reduce their blood pressureDate posted: 21st February 2022
Over the coming year, a new health and wellbeing programme is being offered to approximately 4,500 people in Morecambe and Lancaster who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure by their GP.
The 12-week course is led by a local qualified instructor Cheryl Towey, Lancaster & Bay Integrated Care Communities (ICCs) and Lancaster & Bay Primary Care Networks (PCNs).
People who attend the course will:
- have their blood pressure taken at the start and end of the course to see if there has been a reduction. If there hasn’t been a reduction further advice and support will be given by health and wellbeing professionals
- be asked to complete a health questionnaire and Warwick-Edinburgh mental wellbeing scale questionnaire to see if there are any underlying health or wellbeing concerns which may need signposting to support services
- take part in weekly advice and support sessions centred around reducing blood pressure. Topics that will be included are alcohol intake, diet, exercise, caffeine, salt and smoking cessation.
- take part in a weekly exercise session.
Sarah Baines, Lancaster ICC Development Lead, said: “The concept for this initiative began when we were looking at data for the local area and noticed some of the wards in Lancaster and Morecambe had considerably higher statistics than the national average for heart attacks and strokes.”
“Death rates from coronary heart disease were almost 38% above national figures, 32% above for strokes; and premature deaths under 75 relating to circulatory disease averaged at 58% above national rates.”
Sarah added: “The aim of the initiative is to give people with high blood pressure the skills and knowledge to make the changes themselves so potentially their blood pressure will reduce, they may find a reduced need for medication if they are on it or the course may help them to make life-style changes which will prevent them from going on medication. The sessions will also help to support people to manage their long-term conditions themselves and help to prevent them from having a heart attack or stroke in the future and to improve their overall wellbeing.”
“The initiative is a demonstration of how ICCs work. We are using the community assets that are available to us and working collaboratively with lots of different partners to improve health outcomes locally. That’s what ICCs are all about!”
What are the criteria for the course?
Patients recorded as having high blood pressure will be sent an invite from their GP surgery to join a session local to them.
Anyone with a systolic reading of 139 mmHg or under can begin the course with no additional measures other than having their basic measurements taken at weeks one and 12 of the programme.
Those accepted onto the course with a systolic blood pressure measurement of between 140 and 180 mmHg will be offered a blood pressure monitor and asked to monitor their blood pressure at home for a week. All results will be shared with Lancaster & Bay PCNs to follow up with the patient if there is no significant reduction.
Anyone who has measured higher than 180 systolic mmHg and is in hypertensive crisis cannot attend the course as they are at immediate risk of a stroke or heart attack and will be closely monitored by their GP.