Heart Health
Palliative Care

Palliative Care and Heart-Failure Patients

Inpatient palliative care helped heart-failure patients to have a better quality of life, according to a trial conducted by researchers at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, part of the Allina Health system.

As a result of those findings, bbott Northwestern conducted a new study, “A Description of Inpatient Palliative Care Actions for Patients with Acute Heart Failure,” which appeared in the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. The study aimed to identify and describe what actions palliative care (PC) providers took to create positive outcomes among study patients in the trial.

According to a news release from Allina Health, this is one of the first studies to describe the actions of PC providers for inpatients with acute heart failure (HF), regardless of disease progression and without a referral from another clinician identifying PC needs. The findings show that PC for inpatients with HF led to additive actions beyond standard care, especially for pain, and promoted HF-specific goals of care discussions.

“More than five million Americans are living with HF and almost 50 percent will die within five years of the diagnosis. HF is a disease characterized by hospitalizations and varying degrees of symptoms like shortness of breath, swollen ankles and fatigue,” said Ann Jorgenson, RN, lead author and researcher with Allina Health’s Division of Applied Research.

“Adding PC to usual care not only assists with minimizing symptoms, but perhaps and even more importantly, starts the conversation about HF specific goals of care and future care planning. Providing the opportunity for HF patients to receive PC is one way Allina Health honors their commitment of providing exceptional care,”

“Developing a systematic approach to identifying patients with PC needs and sustaining access to PC across the course of illness may provide opportunities for providers to more adequately address symptoms of anxiety and depression and facilitate future care planning,” Jorgenson said.

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