Hypertension

Controlling hypertension is often difficult because patients do not consistently take their medication. Sometimes, patients do not appreciate the importance of adhering to treatment instructions. The Manage Your Health app, created by Keele University, the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network and Stoke-on-Trent CCG which is free to download, has useful information which patients can have on their smartphone.

For patients who need to their readings to be available in the surgery, Flo can enable these to be sent by text, and they can be viewed on the Flo website, so that trends can easily be seen. You can see more about how Flo works in the following video links.

There are a number of different ready-made protocols in the Flo system, from twice-daily readings for one week (to decide if a patient Is hypertensive) to a two-monthly twice-daily set of messages and readings, to weekly, or monthly readings, so that patients do not need to attend the surgery, as their readings are sent in remotely, recorded and reviewed, and usually medication can be modified appropriately, without a further consultation being needed.

For patients with diabetes or early stage renal failure, lower blood pressure targets can be used, so the patient receives suitable responses according to the lower parameters that have been set.

Patients should have a management plan, so they understand the meaning of the readings they text in, and can take appropriate action if their readings are outside the normal range. You can find these management plans below.

Where lifestyle changes are indicated, the patient may need to set their own goals for a number of areas – weight, alcohol, smoking, and exercise. There is a lifestyle management chart below and also in the resources section.

Patients who have been diagnosed as being hypertensive usually have an annual review with a nurse, which would be something similar to the video below.

Flo has protocols for weight management, smoking cessation, and a multi-faceted approach originally designed for patients with pre-vascular dementia, covering weight management, alcohol, smoking and exercise.

Patients can look at websites such as :

Weight reduction and health eating, Smoking cessation, Alcohol reduction, and Healthy eating. 

Healthy lifestyle  – this includes recommendations for apps which can be downloaded to a smartphone, eg Active 10 walking tracker, Evergreen Life, Sugar Smart, Easy Meals, Drinks tracker, Be Food Smart, Couch to 5K, etc.

Wearable technology, such as Fitbits, or even simpler pedometers can help motivate people to change their lifestyle.

Patients may be reviewed by video consultation, such as Skype, where appropriate. See more information about Skype in ‘TECS in Use

Health messages can be publicised on an open Facebook page, with You tube videos or animations capturing the interest of people who may not usually respond to posters or leaflets. Linking with other community Facebook pages can also increase the wider uptake of health messages that you want to publicise.