AAHFN Recognizes Importance Of Nurses In Treating Cardiovascular Disease

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Throughout the week of May 6 - 12, the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses is joining with nurses everywhere in celebrating National Nurses Week.

In the field of heart failure, nurses play vital roles in patient management, education, and support. This has been reported in numerous studies examining interventions that reduce hospitalization and readmission rates and improve quality of life and life span in chronic heart failure.

Heart failure nurses work in many settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, and in patients' homes, virtually any where cardiovascular disease is being managed.

"Most times, heart failure nurses are the front-line caregivers for patients with heart failure who often do not have a high quality of life" said AAHFN President Robin Trupp. "AAHFN is working to promote best practice, improve patient care and give hope to heart failure patients."

Dedicated solely to heart failure, AAHFN strives to advance the education, clinical practice and research of nurses to improve outcomes in heart failure.

Because many with heart failure are not receiving contemporary, evidence- based care, Ms. Trupp said Nurses Week is the perfect opportunity to remind nurses of the progressive nature of cardiovascular disease and about heart failure as the final common pathway for all cardiovascular diseases. Heart failure is now known to be a chronic condition, like diabetes or asthma, associated with flare-ups, and periods of control with little or stable symptoms.

Who is a Heart Failure Nurse?

Any nurse who provides treatment to individuals with or at risk for developing cardiovascular disease, which affects most Americans during their lifetime, should be considered a heart failure nurse.

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Heart failure nurses work in internal medicine practices caring for adults with hypertension or diabetes, in device clinics caring for adults with implanted cardiac devices such as defibrillators and pacemakers, or in hospitals caring for patients pre-and-post-interventional procedures.

The role and responsibilities of a heart failure nurse takes many forms:

-- Provide advice and support for patients and family, including self-care and monitoring of their condition

-- Act as a liaison with community healthcare and social services

-- Provide emotional support, education, and pharmacological advice

-- Assist with follow-up care

-- Triage problems and emergencies.

Advanced practice nurses have even deeper involvement, as they independently prescribe and manage many cardiovascular therapies, including medications and implanted cardiac devices.

Nurses in these positions could benefit from the knowledge and expertise gained by joining AAHFN, which unites nurses and other health professionals across the spectrum of heart failure care and serves as the interface for sharing ideas, translating research findings into practice and setting priorities for the future.

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