Heart failure affects approximately 6.2 million adults in the United States and has an estimated national cost of $30.7 billion annually. Despite advances in treatment, heart failure is a leading cause of hospital readmissions. Nonadherence to treatment plans, lack of education, and lack of access to care contribute to poorer outcomes.
For patients with heart failure, the mean readmission rate is 21% nationally and 23% in New York State. Before the pilot heart failure program began, the 30-day readmission rate in the study institution was 28.6%.
A multidisciplinary team created a heart failure self-care pilot program that was implemented on a hospital telemetry unit with 47 patients. Patients received education on their disease process, medications, diet, exercise, and early symptom recognition. Patients received a follow-up telephone call 48 to 72 hours after discharge and were seen by a cardiologist within a week of discharge.
The 30-day readmission rate for heart failure decreased by 16.6% after implementation of the pilot program, which improved patient adherence to their medication and treatment plan and resulted in a reduction of readmissions.
Patients in the pilot program represented diverse backgrounds. Socioeconomic factors such as the lack of affordable, healthy food choices and easy access to resources were associated with worse outcomes.
The evidence-based heart failure program improved knowledge, early symptom recognition, lifestyle modification, and adherence to medication, treatment plan, and follow-up appointments. The multidisciplinary team approach to the heart failure program reduced gaps in care and improved coordination and transition of care.