Heart Failure Programme

Heart Failure Programme

The Heart Failure Programme at St. James aims to optimise the management of patients with chronic heart failure admitted to St James’ Hospital. A specialist nurse under direction of a consultant cardiologist works in-hospital with allied health care professionals to achieve this goal.

AIMS OF SERVICE:

  • To improve the post-discharge management of patients with chronic heart failure.
  • To educate patients (and their family or carers as appropriate) towards the management and monitoring of their own care.
  • To improve patients’ quality of life.
  • To reduce hospital readmissions.
  • To keep a pace with nursing, pharmacological, and medical research evidence pertaining to heart failure and to ensure that best practice care is implemented.

TO ACHIEVE THESE AIMS:

  • Prescribed medication is reviewed to ensure that patients receive appropriate pharmacotherapy in effective doses.
  • Patient’s clinical status and blood chemistry are reviewed following medication changes.
  • Patients, families, and carers are provided with tailored education, advice and support.
  • Patients are advised on lifestyle changes that would be advantageous to their health.
  • Patients are reviewed by dietician, pharmacist, and physiotherapist members of the heart failure multidisciplinary team as required
  • Access to a specialist nurse is provided for patients/carers so that early clinical deterioration may be detected and treated before symptoms become severe. The patient receives weekly telephone calls for 3 months and attends the heart failure clinic on 3 occasions during that period (or more frequently if required). Patients are taught the importance of ‘phoning-in’ a weight gain of 2kgs/2days so that adjustment to their diuretic regime may be made per phone (protocol available on request).
  • The service will be audited to ensure a high standard of care and to evaluate the effectiveness of the service as a whole in improving health outcomes.

We would appreciate if you would allow all heart failure related decisions to be made by the heart failure team running this programme. The group consists of a consultant cardiologist, a clinical nurse specialist, and supportive help from a pharmacist, dietician, physiotherapist and medical social worker. We would also appreciate if drugs, which may interfere with heart failure medications, could be avoided. For example, we would advise if at all possible that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, which may lessen the efficacy of ACE inhibition and cause fluid retention be avoided. 

The Heart failure Unit only functions on a Monday to Friday, 8.30am –5pm basis. Therefore ‘on call’ decisions should be handled in routine fashion as you see fit. Copies of our flexible diuretic protocol, ACE inhibitor & Beta-Blocker up-titration guidelines, & patient education guidelines are available on request. Tel: 01 4103593

As the service grows we aim to expand the service but at present our priority in this burgeoning service is to meet the needs of in-patients who present with acute decompensated heart failure and their immediate post hospital care.