Heart Failure: Discharge Instructions
What is Heart Failure?
In heart failure, the heart is unable to pump the right amount of blood throughout the body. This causes blood to back up in the veins. Depending on which part of the heart is affected most, this can lead to a build up of excess fluid in the lungs, feet, and elsewhere. Heart failure can worsen with time, which may lead to the use of many treatments. Because of this, doctors are aggressive in treating heart failure to try to prevent it from worsening.
Why is this important?
Heart failure is a chronic condition. It results in symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, and fatigue. Before you leave the hospital, the staff at the hospital should provide you with information to help you manage the symptoms after you get home.
How are we doing at providing the best care for patients suffering from heart failure?
It is felt that the heart failure patient who receives information on activity level (what you can and can’t do), diet (what you should, and shouldn’t eat or drink), medications, follow-up appointments, watching your daily weight and what to do if your symptoms get worse has a great impact on the quality of their health.
This graph indicates that Hartford hospital at discharge provided every one of these elements (activity level, diet and weight, medications, follow-up appointments, and symptoms) at discharge. The higher the percentage the better.
What efforts are in place to improve performance?
We continue to work on efforts to improve our complete discharge instructions for patients. There is a Heart Failure task force who are assessing ways to improve the number of patients who receive complete heart failure education. We have provided education for our nurses and providers. Monthly we are giving feedback on opportunities for improvement.