Acute hear failure can be terrifying for a patient, as it comes on fast and often proves fatal. When a patient comes in with a heart attack, EMS agents and hospital personnel need to provide emergency care if there’s any chance to save his life. An emergency admission for heart failure has three phases: providing emergency care to get the patient out of danger, stabilizing the patient once he’s out of danger, and sending him to a recovery center for management.
Some facts on the ground
Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. 6 million people in the US have heart disease that has to be managed, accounting for 2% of total national health costs. People who present with acute heart failure have varying symptoms that almost always lead to immediate hospitalization, and if it can be managed and the patient stabilized, ultimately discharge. Since heart failure is so critical, it can be tricky for doctors to determine when to release then patient into post hospitalization care; he may be stable, but it can change at any moment. At the same time, and careful monitoring is essential.
The post hospitalization care period
Readmission for AHF patients is very common, with 30% within the first week and another 30% in the second week post discharge. Patients with a quick rehospitalization often have worse outcomes. Many of them are discharges without complete decongestion, which needs to be an important point when releasing a patient. One of the presenting problems is that the therapies available do not fully rehabilitate the patient in the hospital, and discharge becomes necessary before the patient is well enough to leave. At that point, if the patient is still showing urgent symptoms of heart disease, he needs to be sent to a post-acute care rehabilitation center, such as Hudson view in Bergen County, New Jersey. He needs a rehabilitation center that’s equipped with the right equipment and trained therapists to help the patient heal and manage his symptoms, and that can work with the hospital to monitor his care in case he needs a readmission. The rehab program needs to focus on congestion, which can become urgent quickly.
Beyond treatment, recovery
Aside from the therapies that help with rehabilitation, it’s crucial that when receiving post hospitalization care, the patient receive intense training in proper lifestyle habits, including exercise, if he’s ready for it, and nutrition, focusing on a low salt diet. At this point, he may not be able to participate in a full cardiac rehab program, but he can still get education and training in while he’s in post hospital rehab. And if he is ready, he should enroll in a cardiac rehab program as soon as possible.
It’s important for the facility to have communication with the patient’s doctors in case the patient’s condition worsens and he needs to be readmitted.
Acute heart failure happens quickly
Acute heart failure means there weren’t previous symptoms, which makes it particularly dangerous, and why the patient might need another round in the hospital without warning. That’s why post hospitalization care is so important.