JCF: New statement outlines essentials of heart failure clinics

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Heart failure (HF) clinics are increasingly important in the treatment of HF patients, yet there have been no published standards regarding the care provided by the specialized clinics. To address the gap, the Quality of Care Committee of the HF Society of America (HFSA) has developed a consensus statement summarizing the rationale, goals and components of HF clinic care, which appeared in the December issue of the Journal of Cardiac Failure.

“The goals of the HF clinic are to reduce mortality and rehospitalization rates and improve quality of life for HF patients through individualized patient care,” according to committee members, led by Paul J. Hauptman, MD, of Saint Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri.

The statement defines “a family of 11 domains of care” provided by HF clinics, outlining components of care in each domain. For example, in the domain of disease management, the statement highlights the HF clinic’s role in providing education and counseling for patients and their families or caregivers, with the aim of promoting self care.

The statement also includes detailed information on the domains of nutritional assessment, follow-up, advance planning, communication, provider education and quality assessment in HF clinic care.

“The HF clinic has become a vital element in comprehensive care of the patient with HF,” Hauptman and colleagues wrote. The committee said it hopes that the statement will promote an appreciation of the essential features of the HF clinic approach, and its potential to improve patient outcomes.

“The management of heart failure has become both more complex and more successful,” said Barry M. Massie, MD, editor-in-chief of JCF. “Multidisciplinary clinics and programs can play an important role, both at the onset of this condition and in its more advanced stages. This document provides an outstanding overview of the rationale and goals of the heart failure clinic, as well as very practical guidance on how to organize and implement such a program.”