Home care follow-up for people with heart failure
Sisk, Carol Kittrell
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Heart failure (HF) is a major health problem in the United States and is one whose prevalence is steadily on the rise. For people over the age of 65 years it is the most common reason for hospital admission and many of these people have to be readmitted to the hospital because of HF exacerbations. Follow-up care by professional nurses in the immediate time period after hospital discharge to home is limited despite suggestions from research studies that it may be helpful in decreasing the occurrence of exacerbations from HF, and thus decrease rehospitalizations. This project was developed with the support of a local physician with the purpose of investigating the needs of HF patients after they had been discharged from the hospital. Part one of the project involved a literature review centered on the topic of home care follow-up for this population. Part two of the project was the collection of data obtained during home visits by the author with the participants. The third part of the project included the compilation of results. Of the five participants taking part in this project the two with the least amount or no supportive care had unanswered questions and voiced some lack of confidence in their ability to take care of their needs. The other three participants were comfortable that their needs would be met by the supportive care providers who were involved with their care. The findings from this project would suggest that patients with HF may not have their needs totally met by the time they are discharged from the hospital. Each patient will have individual variation in their needs. A post hospitalization phone call or home visit from a professional nurse may provide an opportunity for clarification of symptom management.