Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Following heart failure surgery, patients will undoubtedly need follow-up care. But sometimes that care fails to deliver the quality needed to get patients back to normal.
In fact, roughly 40 percent of early readmissions stem from poor home care following heart failure hospitalizations, according to a study published Tuesday in Journal of the American Medical Association.
"Heart failure is a leading cause of hospitalization in older adults," Harriette Van Spall, a cardiologist at HHS and study first author, said in a news release. "We know that approximately 40 percent of early readmissions after heart failure hospitalizations are related to suboptimal care as patients transfer between health-care settings."
The intervention for heart patients included a structured hospital discharge summary, nurse-led self-care education and a follow-up appointment from the family physician less than one week after discharge. High-risk patients got home visits from nurses and heart function clinic care.
"Transitional care services can improve outcomes in select patients, but have not been systematically implemented," Van Spall said. "We wanted to test the effectiveness of this health intervention after implementing it in hospitals in our health-care system."
Each year, roughly 5.7 million people have heart failure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We found the patient-centered transitional care service model did not improve clinical outcomes in patients hospitalized for heart failure in our health-care system," Van Spall said. "There were no significant differences in death, readmissions, or emergency department visits between the patients who received the transitional care intervention and those who received usual care.
"However, patients receiving the intervention reported improvements in discharge preparedness, quality of transitional care, and quality of life," Van Spall said.