Review of Cardiovascular Disease Programs

10.2 Mapping the CVD journey

Mapping the CVD journey - Framework for recommendations - Review of Cardiovascular Disease Programs

Page last updated: 03 May 2012

First the CVD journey is mapped, from the perspective of the individual and the service system.

The map of the CVD journey is not disease specific but rather describes the example pathways that might be taken by an individual experiencing CVD. It recognises that for some people the first interaction with the health system for CVD is through an emergency presentation, while for others the GP may be their starting point for the CVD journey.

Not all people with CVD will touch all points of this journey and each individual’s experience of their disease is unique. For example not all people who have experienced a cardiac event require palliation for their disease. Stroke survivors may experience a long period with significant but stable disability levels rather than become increasingly ill to the point of requiring palliation. Nevertheless for a significant proportion of people experiencing the CVD journey, palliation will be a necessary service.

A key element of the map of the CVD journey is the identification of those foundation elements that need to be in place to support a sound, well-governed and supported system. They relate to all stages of the CVD journey and have been identified as a frontline priority in the recommendations.

Using this model, logical groupings of recommendations that will work together to improve different stages of the journey have been identified.

10.2.1 The CVD Journey

Figure 4 - The CVD Journey

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Figure 4 illustrates the many CVD pathways through our health care system, noting that common elements of all parts of the journey include research, clinical governance, information and performance measurement. For many people, their CVD journey begins with a visit to their GP for an assessment of their risk of CVD and, if needed, preventive care or treatment. Other entry points include via ambulance, first aid or emergency department for those experiencing signs of a CVD event such as heart attack or stroke, followed by hospital-based care, ongoing community-based care such as cardiac rehabilitation and, if needed, palliative care. Another important part of the journey is through community awareness and healthy-living programs that support individuals to maximise their health and to be aware of when to seek help for signs of CVD.