Heart Failure Outpatient Clinic Provides Extra Support that Helps Patients Stay Healthier

May 7, 2009

Heart failure is a life-threatening condition in which the heart can no longer pump blood efficiently to the rest of the body. Fluid may back up into other areas of the body, including the arms, legs and lungs. It is the number one admitting diagnosis of patients 65 and older, and Floyd Memorial consistently has over 300 admissions due to this condition every year. Because more than 20 percent of heart failure patients are routinely readmitted with this same condition, the Heart Failure Outpatient Clinic was designed to provide them with the added support they need to help prevent the recurrence of their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Patients work directly with clinic director Marla Estes, advanced registered nurse practitioner. As she explained, “The object is to help patients and their families get things down to more understandable,
human terms. They are always welcome to call for reassurance about something or just for an answer to a question. One of the greatest benefits is that it helps restore their feeling that they have some degree of control in their life again.” Estes contacts patients regularly and often sits down with them to help them stay on the right track with their diets and medications.

“One patient, for example, confidently told me that all she had was ‘pickles, pickles, pickles,’” said Estes. “They’re not bad in the calorie department, but they have enough salt to sink a ship, something a person with heart failure needs to avoid.  We were able to catch it before it caused a serious problem and figure out a  nutrition plan that would work better for her.”

Goals of the Heart Failure Outpatient Clinic

• Improve the patient’s quality of life
• Decrease the number of hospital re-admissions for heart failure
• Decrease length of stay when patient readmission is necessary
• Provide support and education for patients who are newly diagnosed with heart failure

Mended Hearts Support Group Now Offered at Floyd Memorial Have a heart-to-heart with Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, Marla Estes, ARNP. Open to all patients who have undergone cardiac surgery and their support person. Located at Floyd Memorial’s Paris Health Education Center Tuesday, May 26, 6:30 p.m.
For a free informational heart failure brochure or a warning signs of a heart attack magnet, call 1-800-4-SOURCE (1-800-476-8723).