We know that having problems or interventions related to the heart can be challenging to our emotional well-being. Psychology within cardiology is a developing service for cardiology patients who are experiencing significant emotional distress related to their cardiac health which is hindering recovery.
As well as working directly with cardiac patients, we work with our colleagues to promote psychological care through multidisciplinary working and consultation. We contribute to research and audit within the service and wider psychology department. We provide teaching and training opportunities to health care professionals and seek to collaborate with third sector, charitable organisations.
Sometimes having health problems can be an isolating experience. It can also be necessary to make big changes to lifestyle in order to maximise our health. Attending a group can be a useful way to not only learn how to best take care of our health, but to gain confidence, meet people in a similar position and successfully sustain lifestyle changes.
Psychology contributes to the Cardiac Rehabilitation and Heart Failure Cardiac Rehabilitation groups at various phases of the programme. As part of the multidisciplinary intervention, we provide sessions focusing on the psychological facets of rehabilitation. We screen for distress, provide education on stress, low mood and how to promote adaptive coping. We can then follow up with patients with further intervention as required.
We are developing the psychology specific group work programme. We are exploring the provision of a mindfulness group because we know that this intervention can be beneficial to a cardiac population in reducing distress and promoting well-being and confidence.
We are currently doing a scoping exercise with patients and staff to assess what other group interventions would be of most use. For example, groups to address difficulties with mood, stress and factors necessary for sustained health behaviour change. We will use best practice guidelines and evidence based interventions to further guide this process.
For some patients individual therapy is most appropriate. If a patient is agreeable to referral, we invite them for an assessment. A detailed assessment is carried out so we can best understand a person’s story and therefore plan for the most suitable intervention. If an individual would benefit from an intervention within the service, we then, together with our patients, collaboratively develop the best treatment plan. This might involve individual therapy on a weekly or fortnightly basis for an agreed period of time. Sometimes it is more suitable for onward referral to community services and if this is the case, we can help to facilitate this.
How to access the service:
We receive referrals from cardiologists and clinical nurse specialists within the department. If you are interested in being referred to this service, please discuss this with your medical team.
Links you might find helpful:
Information on different physical and psychological health conditions and treatments are available from:
Heart health related information: