AAHFN Promotes Heart Failure Awareness Week

AAHFN Encourages Patient Education to Help Avoid Early Readmission

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By educating patients and helping them understand what needs to be cut out of their diets and what needs to be a priority in their daily activities could help prevent early readmission by 25%.

Mount Laurel, NJ (PRWEB) February 12, 2014

The American Association of Heart Failure Nurses (AAHFN) is reminding healthcare providers to take the time to teach patients and promote healthy lifestyles to individuals living with heart failure, in order to avoid early hospital readmission. The year-long campaign that encourages patients to “keep your heart at home” kicked off earlier this week, in honor of Heart Failure Awareness Week (HFAW), February 9-15, 2014.

There are 6.5 million adults in the U.S. living with heart failure. Of these people, approximately 60% of them will be readmitted to the hospital because they do not take their medications as prescribed; AAHFN is working to increase awareness and encourage more communication between patients, caregivers, and their healthcare providers.

“Proper patient and caregiver education can make all the difference,” said AAHFN President Peggy Kirkwood, RN, MSN, ACNPC, AACC, CHFN. “By educating patients and helping them understand what needs to be cut out of their diets and what needs to be a priority in their daily activities could help prevent early readmission by 25%.”

To help spread the word about the importance of patient education during HFAW, the AAHFN has expanded its patient education collateral to include easy-to-follow tips for preventing early readmission.

In an effort to help decrease the likelihood of early readmission for heart failure patients, AAHFN suggests the following:

For healthcare providers:
•Encourage patients to practice symptom recognition. Help them understand what they’re feeling and what they may feel after the initial discharge from the hospital; communicate the importance of keeping a log of symptoms and help them know who to call, and when.

•Remind your patients about the importance of properly taking medication and keeping scheduled doctor appointments.

•Encourage patients to begin a daily activity program.

For the patients:
•Monitor your diet and avoid eating foods that are high in sodium, cholesterol and fat.

•Limit caffeine in take—no more than one cup of coffee per day.

•Allow yourself time to relax and get the necessary rest that your body needs. Practice deep breathing and avoid eating larger meals at night.

•Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine

•Consider respite care—there are local agencies that can help locate caregiver services in your area.

For additional tips for avoiding early readmission and for downloadable Heart Failure Awareness Week resources, visit http://www.aahfn.org.

Sponsors of AAHFN’s Heart Failure Awareness Week include:
•AMGEN® Cardiovascular
•BG Medicine
•Boston Scientific
•St. Jude Medicine

About AAHFN:
The American Association of Heart Failure Nurses (AAHFN) unites professionals in the support and advancement of heart failure practice, education and research to promote optimal patient outcomes. AAHFN is dedicated to advancing nursing education, clinical practice and research with the goal of setting the standards for heart failure nursing care. Find more information about AAHFN and Heart Failure Awareness Week by visiting http://www.aahfn.org and following the association on Twitter at @AAHFN.

Media Contact:
Caitlin Watterson
Associate MarCom Manager
856-642-4218
cwatterson(at)ahint(dot)com


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