Cross-Industry Initiative will Provide Clinical Guidelines and Resources for Heart Patients and Families

Despite the longer survival times for heart failure patients enrolled in hospice than those not enrolled in hospice[1], services remain underused in this population[2]. The evidence reflects a lack of awareness of hospice and palliative care offerings in the community as one of the primary barriers to improved quality and access.[3] To address this care gap, the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation (NPHI), in cooperation with the American Heart Association (AHA) – the world’s leading voluntary organization dedicated to a world of longer, healthier lives –  announced a new advanced cardiac care initiative and the availability of jointly developed patient and family educational resources.

Heart disease remains the number one cause of death in the United States[4], and exacts a disproportionate toll on many racial and ethnic groups that have higher rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and its risk factors.[5] Amidst the pandemic, heart patients face increasing challenges.  Cardiovascular complications contribute to roughly 40% of all COVID-19-related deaths[6].  Heart Failure is at the forefront of these realities and evidence reflects that heart failure (HF) patients often do not receive care that aligns with evidence-based best practices and that clinicians and patients are not aware of critical information and resources.[7]

NPHI is an organization driven by passion and integrity to help people live fully through the end-of-life. Their 70+ not-for-profit members are community-based hospice, palliative, and advanced illness care providers across the country.

“We are excited to be launching this innovative program for our patients that suffer from heart disease.  This collaboration between NPHI, the American Heart Association and community-based not for profit hospices will make a significant difference to our patients,” said Nathan Adelson Hospice President & CEO Karen Rubel. “As the largest nonprofit hospice organization in Nevada, we are thrilled to be offering this support through availability of jointly developed patient and family educational resources to help educate heart patients.”

“Emergency room and hospital visits take a substantial emotional and financial toll on people living with advanced heart disease, their families and on our health system but can be averted if we can improve awareness of community resources and clinical best practices,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of the American Heart Association.  “Too often, people faced with advanced heart disease are not made aware of how not-for-profit hospice and advanced illness care organizations can provide affordable quality care at home, even as evidence consistently shows the quality of care and healthcare cost advantages of cardiac care by hospice providers.”

Palliative care provides holistic support to patients with stroke and other chronic conditions to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. Hospice care is end-of-life care and is usually reserved for patients among whom most treatment options are no longer feasible. Like palliative care, hospice care also aims to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.

Hospice and advanced illness providers deliver quality primary care at home and at hospice treatment centers, even for those who are not terminal, helping to avert the multiple hospital and emergency room visits often associated with advanced heart disease over months or years.  Plus, in-home care reduces a huge source of stress for the patient, their family, and the medical facility.

“We need to close the gap for heart failure patients who can benefit from in-home hospice services,” said Tom Koutsoumpas, CEO of NPHI. “Far too many die alone in the hospital or nursing facility when they could instead be cared for by our hospice teams wherever they reside and enjoy a far higher quality of life surrounded by loved ones.”

“Regarding advanced heart disease, people of color and the LBGTQ+ communities need to know in far greater numbers how NPHI member organizations can provide comprehensive quality care at home- care which is covered by Medicare or private insurance or by us – NO ONE is turned away because they cannot pay,” Cameron Muir, MD, chief innovation officer of NPHI.  “Through the powerful collaboration of the American Heart Association and NPHI, we have developed simple, accessible resources that every family in America should know about and to help reduce the current devastating gaps in care.”

The National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation  is collaborating with the American Heart Association to improve quality and access to hospice and palliative/advanced illness care.

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About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies, and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.