Advanced Heart Disease Care at Home? Yes, with Capital Caring Health!

Chances are, you probably know someone with heart disease. It remains the #1 cause of death for Americans—one in every four—in spite of impressive advances over the years, dwarfing deaths from either coronavirus or cancer. Heart disease is also a leading cause of hospitalization, with congestive heart failure (CHF) accounting for more than one million hospitalizations each year.

The causes of heart disease are many, including ones you can’t control like genetics, structural defects, age, sex, and race. But according to a 2020 study in the British medical journal Lancet, approximately 70% of all cardiovascular cases and deaths were attributable to modifiable risk factors, including obesity, lack of exercise, and tobacco use, among others.

Beyond these dismal facts, however, there is some good news: Medical advances have taught us how to reduce the risk of heart disease, and produced more effective treatments when preventive efforts have failed. Now we just have to put what we know into practice!

Taking American Heart Month to Heart  

It was quite a different story back in 1963, when heart disease was at its peak. To combat the alarming rise, the American Heart Association that year launched a month-long, public campaign to create awareness of the disease, its causes, and how to prevent it.  Still going strong, American Heart Month, observed annually each February, continues to share information and highlight the importance of action and intervention.  

Chief among those is knowing your numbers—for blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol—and those of your loved ones. That awareness opens the window to understanding your risks and taking steps to prevent or control heart disease.

This year’s American Heart Month is an ideal time to consider whether your lifestyle includes healthy habits like exercise, watching your weight, controlling your stress levels, and keeping tabs on your blood pressure and cholesterol. And today’s tools make that easier than ever.

For instance, you can now quickly measure and track your heart rate and blood pressure—one of the top causes of heart disease when elevated—with a home monitor or a wearable device like Fitbit. Get your cholesterol tested at the doctor’s office for a base line, then manage your levels through diet, exercise, and medication, if needed. Such actions can help reduce your individual risk of heart attack and stroke. 

Of course, you don’t have to go it alone. Your health care team can work with you to assess and improve your personal risk, and achieve healthy goals.

And if you are one of the millions of Americans who already has advanced heart disease, there is hope. Today’s sophisticated treatments and effective care management can both extend and improve quality of life. Capital Caring Health (CCH) can help do both, in the privacy and comfort of your own home.

More Support for CHF Patients and Families at Home

One of the major challenges patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) and their families face is dealing with a daunting number of serious symptoms, including shortness of breath, major fatigue, persistent cough, swelling in the legs and ankles, chest pain, loss of appetite/nausea, and depression and anxiety. Too often, there’s a cycle of trips to the doctor, emergency room visits, and hospital stays—all of which contribute to even greater stress and expense. Without the right care at the right time, the pattern continues.

But many of these visits and hospital stays could have been prevented if CHF patients had received palliative and advanced illness care at home. Unfortunately, only 5% of these Medicare beneficiaries enroll in hospice care, despite its proven benefits.

In fact, studies show that hospice care for cardiac patients can increase longevity, improve quality of life, and lower the risk of being readmitted to the hospital.

In recognition of the prevalence of heart disease—and to improve CHF care at home—Capital Caring Health created a new, comprehensive Advanced Cardiac Care (ACC) program last year. Part of the goal in creating the new program is to improve access to care and by doing so, help address health care disparities. When it comes to CHF, African-Americans are 1.5 times more likely to develop heart failure than whites. Unfortunately, they are also often diagnosed at a later stage, with more advanced and complicated conditions, and a poorer prognosis, often the result of poor or delayed access to the care they need.

The Right Care, at the Right Time

With a focus on care management and self-care, the new ACC program is designed to give CHF patients and families the knowledge and tools they need to safely manage symptoms at home, and avoid hospitalizations.

The program was developed in conjunction with other national experts through the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovations (NHPI), a group of nonprofit hospice members across the country. The American Heart Association also validated clinical information and served as a source for patient and family support material. Major funding  for the new initiative has been provided by longtime supporter Neil Nichols through the Neil C. Nichols Family Foundation in the memory of his colleague, George Pakidis, who devoted time and financial support to  CCH’s mission over many years.

At its core, the Advanced Cardiac Care program offers comprehensive services that help patients, families, and caregivers maintain control, and prevent a situation from becoming worse. As a result, patients with end-stage heart disease remain safely at home under the care of an interdisciplinary care team, working with a patient’s doctor.

Capital Caring Health’s ACC program features:

  • Regular visits and check-in calls by a nurse with specialized training
  • Patient education customized for each patient and family
  • Medications to help control symptoms, which are reviewed with patients
  • Additional supportive care as requested—from a social worker, nurse assistant, chaplain, counselor, and/or a volunteer

The program also includes a Patient and Caregiver Handbook, filled with practical information and tools. The guide helps patients with CHF, their family members, and caregivers safely manage difficult symptoms at home, with dedicated sections on:

  • Symptom management and self-care
  • Medications and diet
  • Monitoring symptoms, including a log to track blood pressure and weight
  • Action plans to know what steps one can take at home, and when to call a member of the care team

The ACC program is an example of the leaps and bounds we’ve made in understanding and treating advanced heart disease. With medical advances, there’s now help with earlier risk detection, lifestyle interventions, new medications, and more effective treatments for later stage illness. And for those living with end-stage heart disease, the right care—as with our ACC program—can make an enormous difference.

With the help and support of CCH, patients with advanced heart disease and their families can now rest assured that their symptoms can safely be managed in the comfort of home, instead of a hospital. That’s a big quality of life improvement for all.

To learn more about the George Pakidis Advanced Cardiac Care program, visit our website or call toll-free (800)-869-2136. You can also download a copy of the Patient and Caregiver Handbook.

Reach out to one of our care experts today.