Support for the mental health and wellbeing of people with long-term conditions
During the autumn of 2015 and winter of 2015/16, the Healthwatch team gathered feedback from patients with heart failure, stroke, or another long-term condition about their experiences.
We asked about the impact of their condition and whether they were offered support for their emotional wellbeing and mental health alongside their physical health. We received feedback directly from individuals, from groups of patients and carers, and through questionnaires.
- Most people we spoke to were positive about the care they received for their physical conditions.
- Eight out of ten people said their condition had a big impact on their life.
- Two thirds of people told us they had not been offered support for their mental health from the NHS.
- People told us that peer support groups were invaluable and most people had found their way to this support informally, rather than being signposted by NHS services.
- People relied heavily on friends and family to identify available support and make arrangements for practical things like transport, financial advice, which was often very difficult.
- The support from physiotherapists, specialist nurses, and speech and language therapists was important to people’s mental health as well as their physical recovery. This support didn't always last long enough and often nothing was put in place it came to an end – leaving people vulnerable to deterioration of their mental health.
Thank you to everyone who took part in this work and shared their experiences.
Healthwatch will be sharing our findings with local commissioners and providers; we will ask them for a response to our recommendations.
Download the full report below, or contact us on 01535 612 545 to request a printd copy or another format.