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Local blood pressure program significantly reduces hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease


Today, the world renowned British Medical Journal (BMJ) released results of a study evaluating a community-based program developed and implemented by both Élisabeth Bruyère Research Institute and McMaster University that shows a nine per cent reduction in hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease for those over the age of 65 in the 20 communities where the program was held compared to 19 control communities.

The published BMJ article shows how the Cardiovascular Health Awareness Program (CHAP), a unique, low-cost intervention, helped to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in the participating communities, through reductions in blood pressure and other important risk factors.

As part of CHAP, family physicians in 20 mid-sized Ontario communities invited nearly 16,000 patients aged 65 and over to attend risk assessment sessions held at 129 local pharmacies over a 10-week period. More than 500 peer-trained volunteers then performed a total of 27,358 cardiovascular assessments. Volunteers met with patients, checked their blood pressure, reviewed the warning signs of stroke and heart attack, looked at risk factors, and promoted blood pressure control and healthy living. This information was then transferred to the patient’s family physician, pharmacist and the patient.

The awareness program was co-developed by: Dr. Kaczorowski while at McMaster University and now from the University of British Columbia and the Child & Family Research Institute; Dr. Lisa Dolovich from McMaster University; and, Larry W. Chambers, PhD from the Élisabeth Bruyère Research Institute. CHAP was funded in part by the Canadian Stroke Network and the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and supported by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, a non-profit research corporation funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC).

In 2002 the World Health Organization (WHO) identified high blood pressure as the leading risk factor for death, forecasting an epidemic of hypertension and identifying community programs to prevent cardiovascular disease as a priority. Last year, the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation report card indicated that one in five Canadian adults has high blood pressure while also warning that a ‘perfect storm’ of risk factors and demographic changes are creating an unprecedented burden on Canada’s fragmented cardiovascular care system.

For more information about CHAP, visit www.chapprogram.ca

Élisabeth Bruyère Research Institute
The Élisabeth Bruyère Research Institute supports scientists who contribute to the relevant and practical knowledge in continuing care, with a particular focus on primary, health of the elderly and palliative care. The Institute draws upon its unique situation, as part of the University of Ottawa and the Bruyère Continuing Care academic health centre, to work closely with community and long-term care partners to bring faculty into service delivery, students into service learning and service providers into research and education.

McMaster University
McMaster University, established in 1887, is one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world. Renowned for its innovation in both learning and discovery it has a student population of 23,000, and about 147,000 alumni in 128 countries.

University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia (UBC) is one of North America’s largest public research and teaching institutions, and one of only two Canadian institutions consistently ranked among the world’s 40 best universities. Surrounded by the beauty of the Canadian West, it is a place that inspires bold, new ways of thinking that have helped make it a national leader in areas as diverse as community service learning, sustainability and research commercialization. UBC offers more than 55,000 students a range of innovative programs and attracts $550 million per year in research funding from government, non-profit organizations and industry through 7,000 grants.

ICES is an independent, non-profit organization that uses population-based health information to produce knowledge on a broad range of healthcare issues. Our unbiased evidence provides measures of health system performance, a clearer understanding of the shifting healthcare needs of Ontarians, and a stimulus for discussion of practical solutions to optimize scarce resources. ICES knowledge is highly regarded in Canada and abroad, and is widely used by government, hospitals, planners, and practitioners to make decisions about care delivery and to develop policy.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

  • Andrea MacLean
  • Communications Manager
  • Bruyère Continuing Care
  • 613-808-0202
  • [email protected]


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Read the Journal Article