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What is the Irish Heart Foundation?
The Irish Heart Foundation is the national charity fighting stroke and heart disease, funded up to 90 per cent by public and corporate donations.
Our vision is that every person living in Ireland will live a long, active and healthy life free from heart, stroke and blood vessel disease.
Our mission is to lead in improving the cardiovascular health of people living in Ireland so they do not experience disability or die from preventable heart, stroke and other blood vessel diseases.
What Does the Irish Heart Foundation Do?
The Irish Heart Foundation:
- Provides information on heart health to the public and media
- Supports patients in managing heart disease and stroke
- Provides heart health programmes in schools and workplaces
- Co-ordinates the training of medics and the public in emergency lifesaving skills (CPR)
- Supports research, education and development in the medical profession
- Advocates better patient treatment and services
We are a member of:
Heart disease - Ireland's No.1 Killer
Approximately 10,000 people die each year from cardiovascular disease (CVD) - including coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and other circulatory diseases. CVD is the most common cause of death in Ireland, accounting for 33% of all deaths. The largest number of these deaths relate to CHD - mainly heart attack - at 5,000. 13% of premature deaths (under age 65) are from CVD.(Based on CSO 2011).
Each year, approximately 10,000 Irish people have a stroke and around 2,000 die – more deaths than breast cancer, prostate cancer and bowel cancer combined. An estimated 30,000 people are living in the community with disabilities as a result of a stroke. This makes stroke the third biggest cause of death in Ireland and the biggest cause of acquired disability. In April 2008, the Irish Heart Foundation commissioned the first national audit on stroke care and it confirmed that between 350 and 500 lives could be saved annually if stroke units were introduced into Irish hospitals. In November 2009, the Irish Heart Foundation launched its Stroke Manifesto calling for urgent action to overhaul stroke services. Join the Irish Heart Foundation’s campaign today for better stroke services .
The Irish Heart Foundation was established in 1966.
- Coronary care units in all hospitals 1966-1975
- Public awareness and education programme
- ‘Action for Life’ programme in schools
- ‘Sli na Slainte’ 200 locations – now adopted in many countries
- Advocacy - smoking ban 2004
- National patient helpline 2006
- National stroke audit 2008
The Irish Heart Foundation is more than 90 per cent funded by public donations.
Staff and Offices
The IHF has 44 staff. The main office is in Dublin and there are regional staff in Cork, Galway and Monaghan.
Overview of IHF Goals
- Stroke Units: To establish stroke units in at least 80 per cent of acute hospitals within three years.
- FAST Campaign: To increase awareness of stroke symptoms and warning signs by 70 per cent over the lifetime of the campaign.
- Stroke support groups and community care: To ensure that everyone who has a stroke in Ireland has reasonable access to a local support group and that these groups have the capacity to self advocate.
Coronary Heart Disease
- Tobacco Price: To gain acceptance that the decision on changes in tobacco taxes must be made from a health perspective, and that tax increases are the biggest determent to young people smoking tobacco products.
- Tobacco Smuggling: To initiate a lobbying campaign to seek greater resources for the detection of contraband and to increase penalties both on smugglers and those who facilitate the sale of illicit tobacco products.
- Smoking Cessation: To reduce smoking by one per cent per year in the Irish population.
- Consultant manpower: To lobby to bring the level of consultant manpower in Ireland to European levels.
- CVD Guideline Implementation: To co-ordinate the agreement, adaptation, and implementation of the ESC CVD prevention guidelines.
- CPR on School Curriculum: To encourage the Dept of Education to include CPR training on the curriculum at secondary level.
- Implementation of Government Policy: To seek prioritisation of CVD on the government agenda and to seek implementation of the recommendations of the latest CVD policy.
- Marketing of unhealthy foods to children: To advocate a ban all advertising of foods high in fat, sugar and salt up to 9pm.
- Food and nutrition labelling: To advocate a traffic light labelling system for food products so that consumers can clearly identify products high in fat, sugar, salt.
- Salt reduction: To achieve a reduction in salt consumption across the Irish population so that the average daily salt intake is no more than six grams per day. (The current average is 8.3g per day).
- Physical environment: To highlight the importance of creating a supportive physical environment to make it easier for the Irish population to achieve recommended physical activity levels for heart health.
Heart Failure Research
- In regard to Heart Failure to determine the optimum methods of care to allow patients to be cared for in their own communities and away from the acute hospital system.
- Overall goal: To inform, educate and encourage specific target groups ( Workplace, Schools, Communities) to make healthier choices, with a particular focus on healthy eating and physical activity.
- Basic Life Support: To increase the rate of survival for out of hospital cardiac arrest.
- Heartsafe: To increase the number of Heartsafe Communities in Ireland
Information Provision & Support
- Patient Information: To have a comprehensive set of information for people with heart disease and stroke and their families and carers.
- Helpline: To deliver a helpline service that provides timely and accurate advice on heart health, heart problems and stroke for the general public, patients and carers.
- Other IHF affiliated support groups: To continue to support the needs of the ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator), Cardiomyopathy, SCD (sudden cardiac death) and Long QT Syndrome Support Groups
- Website: To enhance the provision of information to patients and carers through our website and in particular to develop a dedicated online platform on stroke and dedicated sections on heart failure and obesity.
High Level Goals
1. Reduction by 1% per year in CHD mortality per 100,000 population.
2. To reduce death and disability among those who have suffered a stroke.
3. To bring a halt to increasing levels of obesity in the Irish population.
4. Ensure provision of optimum care and management for heart failure patients.