Congestive Heart Failure Program
If you suffer from congestive heart failure, you can monitor your health with as little as five minutes of your time each week, thanks to a free program offered by Meritus Medical Center.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition in which the heart is not able to adequately supply blood to organs in the body. Congestive heart failure (CHF) is commonly caused by coronary artery disease, heart attack, and high blood pressure. Any CHF patient can benefit from this unique program, which is facilitated by a full-time registered nurse.
Symptoms of CHF vary among individuals and can be constant or come and go, but there are some common signs, such as difficulty breathing or swollen legs or ankles. Fatigue, rapid or irregular heart beats, and sudden weight gain from fluid retention are also symptoms. Congestive heart failure does not generally cause chest pain unless there is another underlying problem.
The goal of the program is for participants to learn how to identify changes in their symptoms early to prevent hospitalization. For those who suffer from CHF, effective management of the disease through lifestyle changes can lead to a better quality of life and better long-term outcomes.*
Each week, patients are called by an automated system at a specific day and time of their choosing. The voice-activated system asks the patient a series of questions regarding his or her CHF status, such as current weight, symptoms, and medication changes. The information given by the patient during the phone call is then sent in real time to a registered nurse who reviews the data. The nurse looks for any responses which might be of concern and can then contact the patient for further assessment if necessary. In addition, the nurse can contact the patient's physician.
The registered nurse is also available by phone Monday through Friday for any education or counseling needs the patient may have in regards to congestive heart failure.
This completely free service does not require physician referral and is available as a community service from Meritus Medical Center. If you are interested in joining the CHF monitoring program or would like more information, please call 301-790-8944.
***In a recent study done in the American Heart Journal, patients who stayed in the CHF program at Meritus Medical Center for at least six months had better outcomes than patients who did not participate.