Library Program Lets People Check Out Blood Pressure Kits

February 28, 2024 at 2:38 p.m.

Nearly half of all Washingtonians have high blood pressure and many are unaware of their condition. Left uncontrolled, high blood pressure can lead to a variety of health threats including heart disease, kidney disease or failure, stroke, heart failure and more, but individuals can take action to impact their numbers and knowing their readings is the first step in better blood pressure control. The American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all, and Timberland Regional Library are collaborating on a project called Libraries with Heart which will arm residents of Southwest Washington with tools and information to support healthier blood pressure readings. The project is supported by MultiCare Health System. 

Library patrons at Timberland Regional Library’s 29 locations and five “Anywhere Library” vans will be able to check out an at home blood pressure monitoring kit which includes an American Heart Association validated blood pressure device and cuff, an instruction booklet which outlines how to properly take blood pressure readings at home, information on what readings mean and steps individuals can take to move their blood pressure numbers into a healthier range. The kits will be available for loan through Timberland Regional Library’s “Library of Things.” 

“The at home blood pressure monitoring kits are a perfect fit for our Library of Things which contains a wide variety of non-book and non-media materials for loan to library patrons,” said Andrea Heisel, content and access director, Timberland Regional Library. “We want to support the health and well-being of the communities we serve and the collaboration with the American Heart Association on this project felt like the perfect opportunity.” 

Once a library patron has the kit at home, they will be able to measure their blood pressure daily as recommended by the American Heart Association for those working to manage high blood pressure. Writing daily readings down in a log and sharing results with a medical provider gives the individual a picture of where they stand and helps clinicians get a better feel for the size and scope of the problem. Daily monitoring is also useful when trying to ascertain if lifestyle changes or medication is effective in moving blood pressure numbers into a healthier range. 

“Access to a blood pressure cuff where patients can measure numbers over a period of time is critical in understanding individual blood pressure readings,” said Karissa LaClair, DNP, director of stroke program quality for MultiCare and volunteer medical expert for the American Heart Association. “Some patients’ blood pressure numbers are elevated by just being in a clinical setting, and at home, the readings tell a different story. For those who are making lifestyle changes like adjustments to diet or increasing physical activity, seeing the impact of those changes through their daily readings can be very encouraging and informative.” 

Home blood pressure monitoring can be especially useful for anyone diagnosed with high blood pressure, for anyone starting a high blood pressure treatment to help determine effectiveness or for those requiring closer monitoring especially those at high risk for high blood pressure or conditions related to high blood pressure. Home monitoring should not be a substitute for regular visits to your medical provider but can be an important tool for patients and clinicians. 

“One of the American Heart Association’s goals is to advance cardiovascular health for all, and that includes increasing access to health care in rural communities,” said Cherish Hart, vice president of community impact, American Heart Association, Washington. “Timberland Regional Library serves five counties across Southwest Washington and they reach many smaller towns. Through this collaboration we are excited to grow access to blood pressure measurement tools and information and connect those with elevated blood pressure readings to additional support through a referral to Valley View Health Centers, if a library patron does not have an existing medical provider. We hope this program will serve as a model to other communities in the future.” 

Timberland Regional Library patrons interested in checking out an at home blood pressure monitoring kit should call the library or log on to the online catalog to see if a kit is available. Once reserved, kit pickup can be arranged through an Anywhere Library van or at the following branches: Aberdeen, Amanda Park, Ocean Park, Elma, Montesano, Mountain View, Packwood, Raymond, Salkum, South Bend, Tenino, Winlock and Westport. Blood pressure kits can be reserved for a period of three weeks and are eligible for renewal.  

This article is courtesy of the American Heart Association. Additional Resources about Blood Pressure:


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