Community Direct Access Service for Early Detection and Treatment of Clinical Deterioration: Effectiveness and Impact on the Workload Pattern of a Hospital-Based Heart Failure Unit
ABSTRACT Introduction: The number of patients entering a heart failure program at the heart failure unit at St Vincent's University Hospital (Dublin, Ireland) is increasing. However, the impact of a community direct access service on the workload pattern of a heart failure unit and its appropriateness remain poorly described. The workload of this hospital-based heart failure unit was analyzed over a 3-year period to assess changing workload patterns and to examine the appropriateness and outcome of patients' direct access to the unit. Methods: Clinical audits from the heart failure unit for the years 2002, 2003, and 2004 were reviewed, and the types of visits were classified and expressed as a percentage of total patient contact. A prospective, observational study was designed to examine the volume and nature of community direct access to the heart failure unit. Unscheduled contact was defined as a telephone call to the heart failure unit from a patient or carer seeking advice and/or reporting clinical deterioration. All unscheduled contact was triaged by a heart failure clinical nurse specialist, and advice was given on what to do, including immediate same-day referral to the heart failure clinic (termed an unscheduled visit). Results: Twenty-eight percent of all unscheduled contacts resulted in an unscheduled visit to the unit. Eighty percent of unscheduled visits to the unit demonstrated evidence of clinical deterioration confirmed by physician examination. Eighty-nine percent of patients with clinical deterioration required an increase in oral medications, 10% required administration of an intravenous diuretic, and 1% required direct hospital admission. Unscheduled visits to the unit account for 20% of all clinical reviews annually. None of the unscheduled contacts that were resolved over the telephone (47%) or referred to the family physician or emergency department (25%) resulted in an admission with heart failure. Conclusion: This study underlines the necessity for, and efficacy of, a community direct access service for heart failure patients in redirecting the course of clinical deterioration.
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ABSTRACT: Heart failure patients have frequent readmissions for acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF). To examine the feasibility, safety and outcomes of outpatient intravenous (IV) diuretic therapy in treating ADHF. A retrospective analysis was performed of all patients included in a hospital-based heart failure disease management programme, who received outpatient IV diuretic therapy for the management of ADHF between 2002 and 2006. Changes in clinical and biochemical parameters from time of therapy to stability were measured. One hundred and seven patients (mean age 71+/-11 years) received outpatient IV diuretic therapy for ADHF IV diuretic administration reduced weight (p<0.001), blood pressure (p<0.01) and BNP (p=0.01). It increased urea (p=0.01) and creatinine (p=0.07). Seventy-two percent of patients stabilised following IV diuretics and did not require admission. No patients were hospitalised for hypotension or hypokalaemia. One patient was hospitalised for renal failure. Two patients died post admission. Outpatient IV diuretic administration for ADHF is safe, cost effective and reduces hospitalisations. This service may expand the potential of a disease management programme to manage ADHF out of hospital and thereby reduce the hospital dependency of this condition.European Journal of Heart Failure 03/2008; 10(3):267-72. · 5.25 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Disease Management Programmes (DMPs) are successful in reducing hospital readmissions in heart failure (HF). However, there remain a number of patients enrolled in a DMP who are readmitted with HF. The primary aim of the study was to determine the proportion of preventable readmissions (PR). The secondary aim was to recognise patient characteristics which would identify certain patients at risk of having a PR. A retrospective chart search was performed on patients readmitted over a 1-year period. 38.5% of readmissions were classified as PR. None of these patients made prior contact with the DMP. Admission levels of BNP, potassium, urea and creatinine were significantly lower in the PR group. DMP have proven benefits in reducing hospital readmission nonetheless a significant proportion of these readmissions are preventable. Further work is required to prospectively analyse why these patients fail to contact the DMP.Irish Journal of Medical Science 06/2009; 178(2):167-71. · 0.51 Impact Factor