What is home blood pressure monitoring (HBPM)?
In England, there are over eight million people diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure).
A blood pressure test is a simple way of checking if your blood pressure is too high or too low.
HBPM enables patients to measure and share their blood pressure readings with their GP from their home. Previously they may have visited their GP or pharmacy to do this.
Home blood pressure monitoring has been identified as a priority for cardiovascular disease (CVD) management during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that patients who are vulnerable to becoming seriously ill with COVID, can manage their hypertension well and remotely, without the need to attend GP appointments.
What are the benefits of HBPM?
There is a substantial evidence base supporting the use of HBPM. It has been shown to:
- Reduce the incidence of clinical events such as death, heart attack or stroke, over five years.
- Save GP time by shifting care from GPs to other members of the multidisciplinary team and
- Be cost effective
Regular HBPM across a population of 50,000 patients could prevent up to 300 heart attacks and 477 strokes over three years.
What is NHS England and Improvement doing to help?
Supporting patients who have hypertension (high blood pressure) and are considered extremely vulnerable to becoming seriously ill if they catch COVID-19. Since October 2020, over 22,000 blood pressure monitors have been delivered so that patients can record their blood pressure and send their readings to their GP to review by telephone, email or via a remote monitoring platform.
In addition, those who already own a blood pressure monitor should agree with their GP how to monitor their blood pressure at home.
The learning from five early adopter areas and current phase of national implementation are being used to inform a scaling up of the programme, of a further 150,000 blood pressure monitors.
This work, called Blood Pressure Monitoring @home, forms one part of a range of initiatives being developed by the NHS to provide better connected, more personalised care in people’s homes including care homes, supported by technology including remote monitoring.
What support is available for NHS staff?
Resources to support NHS staff to implement Blood Pressure Monitoring @home in their local area, such as a Standard Operating Procedure and patient group identification tools, can be found on the programme FutureNHS workspace (this platform requires users to register and log in).
What support is available for patients?
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has a wide range of tools and information available to support patients learn about their high blood pressure. These resources can be found on their Manage your blood pressure at home hub, which was created to help measure and manage blood pressure at home during the pandemic. It includes:
- How to measure blood pressure at home – video: Video demonstration on with a BHF Senior Cardiac Nurse, demonstrating to patients how to measure blood pressure at home.
- High Blood Pressure and Coronavirus: BHF medical experts answer questions about how the COVID-19 coronavirus can affect people with heart disease, including hypertension.
- 6 tips for reducing blood pressure: Tips to help reduce your blood pressure, or control it following a diagnosis of high blood pressure.
- Understanding blood pressure booklet: Booklet for people with high blood pressure to help them understand the condition. Including information on what high blood pressure is, and how to reduce it. These are available to download or to order in print.
- Online community: Free online space for people with heart and circulatory conditions to get information and support from people who are going through similar situations.
Other useful resources:
- NHS.UK webpages: About your blood pressure test
- Blood Pressure UK: How to measure your blood pressure at home (Learn how to use a home monitor and download the home blood pressure monitoring resources)
- Stroke Association: Risks of high blood pressure
- British and Irish Hypertension Society: List of validated BP monitors
- Blood Pressure UK: Introducing high blood pressure booklets in 32 languages
- EasyHealth.org.uk: Having your blood pressure taken (Easy Read)