Congestive Heart Failure: An emphasis on management

Angela Redding, RN, BSN, PPG – Cardiology, Outpatient Congestive Heart Treatment Center, answers our questions about the important work the team is doing to help patients develop a plan for managing their heart condition.

Q. What is the purpose of the Outpatient Congestive Heart Treatment Center?
The purpose of the clinic is to provide a treatment plan that is tailored to each individual. Treatment and management of Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is not a “one size fits all”. We see a diverse population of patients with varying conditions, life situations, challenges, and goals. Our priority is to equip patients with education and the tools necessary to allow them to live longer, better lives, and avoid frequent hospitalizations.

Q. Where is the Center located? 
It’s located on the second floor of the Parkview Heart Institute at Entrance 10 of Parkview Regional Medical Center. Patients check in at the Entrance 10 information desk where they are then escorted by a Parkview volunteer to the 2nd floor lobby.

Q. Who do you typically see there?  
We see patients who have been diagnosed with congestive heart failure (CHF), whether newly diagnosed or for ongoing treatment management. Our clinic is not age- or gender-specific. Many of our patients have spent time in the hospital because of complications from CHF. These patients require a close relationship with our office to assist in managing their medications, symptoms, and lifestyle adjustments due to the fact symptoms can change quickly. Patients can be seen as often as on a weekly basis. Follow up appointments are scheduled depending on the stability of the patient’s symptoms and medication regimen.

Q. What is special about the clinic? 
We have recently started an initiative with Indiana University Health called Shared Care. This program allows us to assist in the management of patients who have received a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD). The management of patients with LVADs require frequent office visits to monitor patient symptoms, settings, and LVAD-specific equipment. Until recently, patients in the surrounding area had to drive to Indianapolis for all of their office visits. We have specially trained staff in the OP CHTC who work closely with IU, Dr. Mark O’Shaughnessy, and LVAD patients. Patients are now able to stay closer to home for routine appointments.

Q. What can patients expect at the clinic?
Patients will be escorted to the exam room by a medical assistant who will weigh the patient, obtain vitals – blood pressure, pulse, oxygen saturation, and temperature – review current medications, and any changes in medical history. Patients will then meet with a nurse practitioner (NP) to discuss issues, concerns, and questions in regards to their current condition. The NP and patient collaborate to form a treatment plan . Bloodwork may be ordered prior to the appointment or may be completed at the time of the office visit. This bloodwork allows for monitoring of blood levels such as electrolytes and kidney function. These blood levels are important to monitor because of the medications that are prescribed in the treatment of CHF. Patients will be educated on daily logging of weight, blood pressure, pulse, symptoms, dietary guidelines, and when to seek medical advice or emergency care.

Q. What is your hope for the Heart Failure Clinic?
We want to continue to expand our knowledge to utilize the best tools in managing CHF including new medications and technologies. It is our priority for the clinic to be successful in educating our patients about their condition and the importance of compliance with their treatment plan – medications, sodium and fluid guidelines, symptom management.
 

Patients of the Outpatient Congestive Heart Treatment Center need to be established with our cardiology office. For a referral, talk to your primary care provider or cardiologist.  

 

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