Supporting Women from Uri Care for their Hearts
Sensing the system
Margrit is 65 years old and lives in the rural canton Uri. In general, Margrit would consider herself healthy. What Margrit does not know is that she and her community of female friends are at risk for heart disease.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death of women worldwide and in Switzerland, and more women than men die due to heart diseases. Still, the myth that heart attacks are primarily a male problem persists. At the same time, people living in rural areas are more likely to present risk factors for heart disease: they tend to smoke more often, drink more alcohol, and are more likely to be overweight. Moreover, older women are particularly at risk because, after menopause, estrogen levels drop, and without the heart-protecting hormone, the risk of heart disease increases.
These and other facts influenced me to look into my home canton’s situation. I found that people from Uri go to the doctor less often than the average Swiss citizen. This behavior pattern is a problem, as doctors can detect risks for heart disease even before symptoms appear. They support patients in risk factor management or can detect asymptomatic heart disease.
The project’s goal was to increase Margrit’s knowledge about heart disease while encouraging her to participate in a checkup for heart disease at her doctor. Together with women, local politicians, and medical staff, a new care journey was created to help women from Uri care for the heart. The central aspect of the service is a letter sent to all residents over 50 in Uri. The letter includes 3 parts:
- An invitation to a free screening at the hospital, doctor, or pharmacy;
- a brochure informing about heart disease;
- a flyer inviting women to a casual Coffee Meeting, offering a possibility to exchange and answer questions.
The service concept intends to make the population of Uri, especially women, aware of heart diseases and ultimately encourage them to check their risks at a doctor.
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