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TILDA Hypertension Seminars for Health Professionals


Professor Rose Anne Kenny
Dr Catriona Murphy (postdoctoral researcher)


Health Research Board


HSE Professional Development Coordinators for Practice Nurses
Irish Practice Nurse Association
National Irish College of General Practitioners
National Institute of Community Health Nursing

The problem

In April 2015 the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) published research which indicates that approximately two thirds of older Irish adults have high blood pressure and close to half of them are unaware of their condition. High blood pressure is an important risk factor for heart disease and stroke which can be prevented and managed.

Undiagnosed hypertension, coupled with the expected rapid increase in the number of older adults in Ireland and the growing levels of obesity and diabetes, creates an increased need to understand cardiovascular health in older Irish adults. Under-detection of cardiovascular risk is challenging to address unless primary and community care professionals are informed of these results in order to close the evidence-policy-practice gap in Ireland.

Despite the strong history of cardiovascular health research in Ireland, the area of policy and implementation especially in prevention and health promotion through structured and efficient translation of research evidence into practice remains a pressing need. This programme offers a rapid and cost-effective method for reaching general practitioners and primary care providers in the community. Traditional dissemination through academic conferences reaches only a small proportion of the primary and community care professionals in Ireland. Some health care professionals (in particular practice nurses) have limited opportunities for professional development. HSE facilitated professional development and educational meetings of professional associations provide opportunities to connect with these professionals in practice and to disseminate research findings.

What we did

TILDA engaged with the HSE Professional Development Coordinators for Practice Nurses to develop a pilot seminar scheme to engage with primary care practitioners on hypertension prevalence, awareness, treatment and control in the older Irish population. The pilot was delivered to 44 practice nurses from 39 primary care practice settings and based on the success of these scheme, TILDA secured additional funding from the HRB to develop and roll out the scheme nationwide. The seminars present research findings on hypertension prevalence and awareness, address current practice, and the need for development of protocols for blood pressure monitoring and management at the primary care level for improved health outcomes at the population level.

Outputs/outcome/impact and/or potential

The target audience for this activity are health professionals who can use the hypertension research findings in their daily practice i.e. practice nurses, GPs, community/public health nurses and community nurses of the future. In 2016 and 2017, a total of 17 seminars were delivered to 386 healthcare professionals nationwide. TILDA will undertake a follow up survey of attendees to determine if practices have been adapted in response to the research seminars. TILDA data collection at Wave 5 (2018) and Wave 6 (2020-2021) will allow us to track changes in awareness and management of hypertension at the population level.