Iyngkaran, P., Harris, M., Ilton, M., Kangaharan, N., Battersby, M., Stewart, S. & Brown, A. (2014). Implementing guideline based heart failure care in the northern territory: Challenges and solutions. Heart Lung and Circulation,23(5), 391-406. Australia: Elsevier Australia. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hlc.2013.12.005
The Northern Territory of Australia is a vast area serviced by two major tertiary hospitals. It has both a unique demography and geography, which pose challenges for delivering optimal heart failure services. The prevalence of congestive heart failure continues to increase, imposing a significant burden on health infrastructure and health care costs. Specific patient groups suffer disproportionately from increased disease severity or service related issues often represented as a “health care gap”. The syndrome itself is characterised by ongoing symptoms interspersed with acute decompensation requiring lifelong therapy and is rarely reversible. For the individual client the overwhelming attention to heart failure care and the impact of health care gaps can be devastating. This gap may also contribute to widening socio-economic differentials for families and communities as they seek to take on some of the care responsibilities. This review explores the challenges of heart failure best practice in the Northern Territory and the opportunities to improve on service delivery. The discussions highlighted could have implications for health service delivery throughout regional centres in Australia and health systems in other countries.
Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research
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