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After hospital discharge, audio messages about self-care can reduce heart failure patients' risk of rehospitalization and death, new research suggests.
Patients may not absorb instructions provided before they leave the hospital, explained study co-author Nancy Albert, a clinical nurse specialist at the Kaufman Center for Heart Failure at the Cleveland Clinic. So, "we needed a new way to provide this potentially lifesaving information," she said in an American Heart Association (AHA) news release.
"Patients may be tired, confused and worried about being able to follow provider orders and/or without family members at the time they are discharged, so they may lack the ability to carefully hear, understand and ask questions about instructions for self-care at home," Albert explained.
"Handing out more paperwork may not be the answer. In addition, some patients have health literacy issues, poor eyesight or they do not have access to the internet to get heart failure information," she said.
Heart failure occurs when the heart no longer pumps blood efficiently enough to meet the body's needs.
The study included about 1,000 patients, average age nearly 73, who were hospitalized with heart failure at four facilities in Ohio. When they were discharged from the hospital, patients received usual care only (control group), or usual care plus a MyROAD (My Recorded On-Demand Audio Discharge) audio card with instructions on how to use it.
The card, which can be replayed at home at at any time, provides heart failure patients with information about diet, physical activity, medication and self-monitoring.
Compared to those in the control group, patients who received MyROAD were 27% less likely to visit the emergency department for any cause one month after their initial hospital discharge, and 29% less likely after 45 days.
Three months after discharge, MyROAD users were 40% less likely to need a heart-assist device, receive a heart transplant or die from any cause. They were also nearly 50% less likely to die from heart failure, according to the study.
The findings were presented Tuesday at a virtual AHA meeting. Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
"It is important for patients who are discharged to home after a hospital stay to understand that by carrying out specific physical activity, diet, medication and self-monitoring behaviors, they may improve their life span and be less likely to require a future emergency department visit," said Albert.
For more on heart failure, go to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Nov. 17, 2020
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