• cardiovascular disease;
  • routine monitoring;
  • secondary prevention;
  • general practice;
  • community nursing;
  • health visiting;
  • audit;
  • health care;
  • extended roles

The introduction of a routine monitoring system in primary care for patients with a first episode of cardiovascular disease

A study at a group general practice in the English midlands found that health promotion advice had not been routinely provided to some patients with cardiovascular disease and stroke. The purpose of this project therefore was to introduce a monitoring system to ensure that health promotion issues were covered systematically with patients following a first episode of cardiovascular disease. Patients with a first episode of a relevant condition would be identified by an automated search on the practice database, and contacted by the health visitor. A checklist would ensure that all appropriate issues were covered. The system was easily introduced at the practice and no difficulties were experienced with its administration. A total of 62 patients were seen during the year. A substantial number of secondary prevention issues were addressed through advice and information leaflets. The project was felt to be a useful addition to care by the workers involved. Although some of the issues may have been addressed in routine care, early organized nurse contact ensures systematic coverage and early referrals where necessary, as well as potential psychological benefit to patients.