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February is Heart Month

Feb 7, 2019


Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada. Not only is heart disease a killer, it also takes its toll on the quality of life for patients who are struggling with it, as well as their families.

In the McMaster School of Nursing, researchers are discovering innovative ways to treat patients who have been diagnosed with heart disease. Here is a brief introduction to some of their current research.

Patricia Strach

Dr. Patricia Strachan’s interest in advanced cardiac illness began during her doctoral work, when she was investigating rural women who had survived heart attacks. She noticed that people with end-stage heart failure experienced many issues that were not being addressed in relation to their care, specifically in relation to communication. She went on to research end-of-life communication and heart failure in her post-doctoral fellowship. In 2015, she led the development of a practice tool called Heart Failure Palliative Approach to Care (HeFPAC). The tool provides key information relevant to the nursing care of patients with advanced (or end-stage) chronic heart failure. Dr. Strachan is currently involved in projects related to communication in advanced illness and is leading an initiative to develop research and knowledge translation priorities that will build nursing capacity for a palliative approach to the care of patients with advanced heart failure. 

 Maureen Markle-Reid

Dr. Maureen Markle-Reid holds the Canada Research Chair in Person Centred Interventions for Older Adults with Multimorbidity and their Caregivers . Her interest in heart and stroke patients began when she was an undergraduate nursing student on a cardiac ward at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton. After graduating, she worked as a staff nurse in the Cardiac Care Unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Toronto Western Hospital, and a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Cardiology at Hamilton Health Sciences.  She noticed that many patients with cardiovascular disease, particularly older adults, had high hospital readmission rates. She went on to develop a program of research that involves creating and testing new interventions to support aging at home for older adults with chronic conditions. Currently, she is working on several projects, including one that involves a new web-based application designed to a team-based approach to stroke rehabilitation for community-living stroke survivors

 Michael McGillion

Dr. Michael McGillion holds the Heart and Stroke Foundation/Michael G. DeGroote Endowed Chair of Cardiovascular Nursing Research. As an undergraduate student, he discovered his drive to find practical solutions to pressing issues. “Being engaged in research at this level allows us to solve real problems that matter to people’s lives and their well-being and recovery,” says McGillion. Working closely with colleague and co-lead, Dr. PJ Devereaux, his current work includes leading an international team of researchers that is developing state-of-the-art technology that can monitor the vital signs of patients and warn of early signs of deterioration after heart surgery.  ​


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