King’s Daughters Medical Center (KDMC) is the first hospital in the U.S. to achieve accreditation as a Heart Failure Institute. The announcement was made Sept. 10 at the New Cardiovascular Horizons 9th Annual Meeting in New Orleans. The accrediting body is the Healthcare Accreditation Colloquium of Columbus, Ohio.
“Heart failure is the only major cardiovascular diagnosis that still is increasing in both incidence and prevalence,” said KDMC cardiologist Robert Touchon, M.D. “With today’s interventions, more people are surviving heart attacks, but often they are left with impairments in their heart function. Healthcare organizations are recognizing this growing health concern and are taking steps to more effectively manage this chronic condition. King’s Daughters Medical Center is a leader in this initiative by becoming the first accredited Heart Failure Institute in the country.”
Heart failure is a chronic condition in which the heart has been damaged or weakened and cannot adequately pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body. Without proper management, half of patients diagnosed with heart failure will die within five years of their diagnosis, and thousands of others suffer with progressively worsening symptoms and complications. Heart failure is a growing health problem in the U.S., with more than five million Americans living with the disease, and 550,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
King’s Daughters met or exceeded all requirements for accreditation as a Heart Failure Institute, which included clinical process mapping, analysis of current practices, submitting a comprehensive report, in-depth interviews and an on-site visit from surveyors.
Surveyors commended King’s Daughters for its outpatient heart failure management clinic that opened in 2006. The clinic provides ongoing patient management, rapid response to complications, as well as educating patients and their families about lifestyle adjustments. KDMC is the only hospital in the region to offer this service.
“The goal of our clinic is to keep heart failure patients stable and to stop progression of disease, thereby reducing the risk of complications and re-hospitalizations,” said Amy Sieweke, KDMC nurse practitioner and program coordinator of the Cardiology Clinic. Sieweke said an 80 percent reduction in hospital admissions has been noted among the patients treated at the heart failure clinic since it opened in 2006.
“Heart failure is a chronic condition that greatly impacts a person’s quality of life,” Sieweke continued. “These patients need a lot of education about their condition, their medications, and changes they can make with their diet and activity levels. Patients who comply with these guidelines enjoy a much better quality of life and fewer emergencies related to their condition.”
King’s Daughters also earned credit toward accreditation as a result of its Silver status from the American Heart Association’s “Get With The Guidelines – Heart Failure” program.
In addition, King’s Daughters is conducting studies on heart failure through the Kentucky Heart Institute, an affiliate of the KDMC Heart and Vascular Center focused on research, education and prevention activities.
The Healthcare Accreditation Colloquium was founded by some of the same cardiac experts who established the Society for Chest Pain Centers. Based in Columbus, Ohio, the mission of the Colloquium is to bring quality and process improvement to the care of heart failure patients at hospitals by using improvement-based accreditation. The Colloquium offers a focused, organized and systematic approach to heart failure that encompasses the entire continuum of care. The process is modeled after well-established process improvement methods used in industry. The organization’s web site is www.thacinc.com.
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