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Improving cardiac care through collaboration

Improving cardiac care through collaboration
April 28
12:18 2021

By Ann Gauthreaux

Trellis Supportive Care is pleased to announce a collaboration with the American Heart Association (AHA) and the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation (NPHI) to improve the quality of life for patients living with heart disease. The collaboration means that cardiac patients will receive advanced treatments and therapies in their home. This program will improve quality and access to hospice and palliative/advanced illness care for heart patients and keep them from dying alone in hospitals.

Each year, more Americans die from heart disease than any other condition, including cancer. Heart disease is also a leading cause for hospitalization: patients with congestive heart failure alone account for more than one million inpatient admissions annually. Despite the longer survival times for heart failure patients enrolled in hospice than those not enrolled, services remain underutilized for this population. A lack of awareness of hospice and palliative care offerings is one of the primary barriers to increased access and improved quality of care.

“To address this gap in care, we are thrilled to be among the organizations embracing this new advanced cardiac care initiative in cooperation with the AHA – the world’s leading organization dedicated to longer, healthier lives for patients with heart disease,” shared Dr. Michael Lalor, chief medical officer with Trellis Supportive Care. 

In addition to expanded in-home specialized therapies, collaborators of this community-based program will work to improve awareness of in-home services that prevent hospital admissions and improve care of people facing heart disease. 

As a silent pandemic, heart disease and heart failure touch every family in America. And COVID-19 has made it worse. As a result, too many patients miss out on a better – and longer – quality of life and they are missing time together with their families by not utilizing specialized in-home care. 

“We are expandingin-home specialized therapies to include IV diuretics, Milrinone and other Inotrope infusions, and LVAD therapy at home. Additionally, we remain available to our patients 24/7, offering expert symptom and medication management, and we will coordinate care with our patients’ cardiologists,” added Lalor.

This collaboration combines the expertise of the AHA, and nearly 75 of the nation’s leading nonprofit palliative and hospice care organizations, including Trellis Supportive Care. This wealth of expertise and shared knowledge combines best practices to provide patients the best symptom management and support. 

According to NPHI and the AHA, people with advanced congestive heart failure often do not receive services that enhance their quality of life in the later stages of the disease because they are late to access hospice services proven to improve the quality of care. Further, amidst COVID-19, heart patients are at higher risk of complications and death, yet more likely to forgo treatment. 

As vaccines become more readily available and COVID-19 becomes a memory, heart disease is expected to remain the leading cause of death in the United States. That is why Trellis Supportive Care is so pleased with this collaboration and the national attention this campaign will yield. 

Only 5% of heart failure patients discharged from the hospital utilize in-home hospice services. “With this collaboration, we look forward to a community where heart disease patients receive more timely, high quality care at home so that they have a better quality of life,” shared Lalor. 

Trellis Supportive Care (formerly Hospice & Palliative CareCenter) was the first hospice in the state of North Carolina. Since 1979, hospice care has been the cornerstone of the organization’s care; however, over the years, new and expanded programs have been introduced. These programs include grief counseling and advance care planning — both free of charge — for anyone in the community, as well as expanded palliative care services designed to meet the needs of patients earlier in the disease process. In 1998 the Kate B. Reynolds Hospice Home was opened, providing around-the-clock care to patients and families needing short-term inpatient care or respite care. The Trellis Supportive Care staff is comprised of specially trained professionals who work as a team to help patients and their families live fully and comfortably, with hope — even during life’s most challenging time. 

Ann Gauthreaux is the senior director of public relations for Trellis Supportive Care.

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