Program designed to support heart patients and cut hospital readmissions
Being hospitalized with a heart condition can be a stressful experience. The recovery process, which begins in the hospital and continues at home, can be equally stressful due to new medications, lifestyle changes and other concerns.
The WakeMed Heart Center recognizes the challenges heart failure and heart attack patients face in their recovery and is pleased to participate in a new program by The American College of Cardiology (ACC). The ACC Patient Navigator Program involves 11 health care systems nationwide with the goal of supporting hospitals in providing personalized services to heart disease patients and to help them avoid a quick return to the hospital. Funding support for the ACC Patient Navigator Program is provided by Astra Zeneca.
“We partner with patients, families, physicians and clinicians to achieve the highest quality of heart health and well-being,” commented Betsy Gaskins-McClaine, vice president, WakeMed Heart & Vascular Services. “Our participation in this program is an extension of our leadership in cardiovascular care and our continued commitment to coordinate care and ensure cardiac patients are receiving the right treatments at the right time in the right place.”
WakeMed was chosen by the ACC because of its commitment to quality demonstrated by participation in the National Cardiovascular Data Registry and Hospital to Home program.
“Our responsibility to a patient does not end after he or she has been discharged,” added Gaskins-McClaine. “Educating patients about their condition, providing instructions and home follow-up after discharge and encouraging healthy lifestyle changes are key to helping our patients manage their cardiac conditions, stay independent and out of the hospital.”
According to the ACC, nearly one in five patients hospitalized with heart attack and one in four patients hospitalized with heart failure are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, often for conditions seemingly unrelated to the original diagnosis.
“The ACC Patient Navigator Program will serve as a test for innovative, patient-centered solutions to address issues that impact patient health and patient readmissions,” said ACC President John G. Harold, MD, MACC. “WakeMed Health & Hospitals is a pioneer in heart disease treatment and care by putting an emphasis on a team approach to meeting patients’ ongoing care and needs, and helping them make a seamless transition from the hospital to the home.”
How to Prevent
Understand the condition that required you to be hospitalized. Knowing what is going on in your body will help you take action to stay healthy.
to the Hospital
Follow all your doctor’s discharge instructions. Make sure you understand how to care for yourself at home.
Take your medications as directed. Your cardiologist may prescribe blood thinners and other medications to manage your condition. Don’t stop taking these without talking with your doctor. To learn more about common heart medicines, go to CardioSmart.org.
Schedule (and keep) followup appointments with your cardiologist. This will help you work together to track your progress and know if treatments are working.
Ask your doctor about a cardiac rehabilitation program. A team of health professionals provides education and support to help you recover and start new, healthy habits, such as eating right and getting more exercise. For more information about WakeMed’s cardiac rehabilitation program, Healthworks, visit our website at hearts.wakemed.org
Commit to a healthier lifestyle. To keep your heart healthy and your arteries open, eat a heart-healthy diet, exercise, stop smoking (if you smoke) and reduce stress.
Report any changes. Tell your doctor if you start having chest pains or any other new or changing symptoms.