The Blood Pressure Monitoring @home project is a collaboration between York CVS, Good Gym York and Haxby Medical Group. This new pilot which has just launched aims to enable around 200 patients, with a diagnosis of high blood pressure, to have access to the equipment and support they need to monitor their own levels remotely at home. Bev Frain, Blood Pressure Monitoring @home Coordinator has written a guest blog post to provide more information about the project and why it is so important.
Better Health, Better Outcomes
Supporting others to become actively involved in managing their own care
Did you know that the blood pressure monitor was first invented in 1881 by Siegfried Karl Ritter von Basch? It consisted of a rubber bulb that was filled with water to restrict blood flow in the artery. In 1896, the device was further improved by Scipione Riva-Rocci with the inclusion of a cuff that could be affixed around the arm to apply even pressure to the limb.
Known as the Sphygmonanometer, the modern day version of this small but essential piece of equipment is a key part of a new initiative in York to help people to become more actively involved in managing their own care.
Self-management of a long term health condition such a high-blood pressure can have many benefits for patients. Understanding a health condition can empower people to take control and monitor their own situation and have the confidence to know which questions to ask their healthcare professionals.
“We are delighted to part of this project bringing together public health, GP surgeries and the voluntary sector to support patients to take control of their health. Participants will be monitoring their blood pressure and taking action to reduce it, each person will be supported by local volunteers and their GP practice to ensure the best health outcomes can be achieved – reducing their blood pressure could have a significant impact on reducing their risk of heart attack and stroke.” – Haxby Medical Group
Understandably many people with hypertension are anxious about their condition, and knowing what a symptom or diagnosis means can help reduce those feelings and make patients feel more confident about when to seek professional help.
If you’ve ever had to take a day off for a hospital appointment, just to have your blood pressure checked, then you’ll also know the value of being able to reduce the number of times you need to do this by being able to check your own levels at home.
Additionally some of us suffer from what’s known as “white coat syndrome”, when the blood pressure readings taken by a health professional don’t always agree with the ones you take at home. People with high clinic readings but normal home blood pressure readings are thought to have “white coat hypertension” and sometimes this can lead to a heightened risk of being given more intensive blood pressure lowering drugs than may be necessary.
“We are really excited to partner with York CVS to help out with this project. We have been previously working with them to help deliver oximeters to people who are isolating and this has gone really well. The monitors are quick and easy for our volunteers to collect, they then run, walk or cycle with them to the delivery address. It allows them to get in their daily exercise whilst delivering vital equipment to someone who needs it – a win win situation!” – GoodGym York
In the Vale of York around 1 in 8, that’s 40,000 people, have a diagnosis of high blood pressure, and a new pilot collaboration between Haxby Medical Group, GoodGym York and York CVS aims to ensure that, during the pilot phase of the project, 200 patients experience the benefits of being able to play an active role in managing their health condition.
With the support of a trained volunteer and access to a free home blood pressure monitor the Blood Pressure Monitoring @home project will support and encourage patients to start taking and recording their blood pressure levels and to submit their findings to their GP.
It is hoped that participants will gain a stronger sense of responsibility for their health and be able to monitor their condition more easily in the longer term. Ultimately the project aims to lower the risk of developing any serious problems related to having high blood pressure; potentially saving lives.
We also want to get people talking about blood pressure, it rarely has any symptoms so its title as the “silent killer” is well deserved. Half of all people who have high blood pressure are not diagnosed or receiving treatment, in England alone, that’s more than five million people. Living with sustained high blood pressure can be devastating, indeed, it’s known to be one of the most important risk factors for heart attack and stroke.
The only way to know you have the condition is to get your blood pressure measured and if you are diagnosed with hypertension evidence shows that playing an active role in managing your condition leads to better outcomes and better health.
This image shows a Riva-Rocci sphygmomanometer with cuff used by Korotkoff, who later discovered systolic and diastolic blood pressure.