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Thursday, April 22, 2021
Program will improve quality and access to hospice and palliative/advanced illness care for heart patients and keep them from dying alone in hospitals
Agrace, in collaboration with the American Heart Association (AHA) and the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation (NPHI) today announces the Advanced Cardiac Care (ACC) Program to address one of the nation’s largest killers of Americans – heart disease.
Available for immediate use, the program’s patient and caregiver guide helps avert multiple hospital and emergency room visits that are a huge source of stress for the patient, their family, and the medical facility currently dealing with COVID-19 patients.
Each year, more Americans die from heart disease than any other condition, including cancer. Heart disease is also a leading cause for hospitalization: patients with congestive heart failure alone account for more than one million inpatient admissions annually.
Agrace Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ruth Thomson remarked, “These new care guidelines are an absolute priority as heart patients postpone medical care in fear of COVID-19, even as heart disease puts them at greater risk.” Dr. Thomson added, “Cardiovascular complications contribute to roughly 40 percent of all COVID-19 related deaths. Together, we can help reduce this alarming statistic.”
“It is a complete and unnecessary tragedy that only five percent of heart failure patients who are discharged from the hospital ever utilize in-home hospice services,” said Carole Fisher, President of NPHI. She further stated, “Far too many die alone in a hospital or nursing facility, when instead our hospice teams could care for them wherever they reside and they could enjoy a far higher quality of life surrounded by loved ones.”
NPHI is the national voice for 75 not-for-profit hospice and advanced illness care providers. NPHI’s hospice and advanced illness care providers offer primary medical and lifestyle care at home, even for those heart failure patients who are not terminal.
Heart disease will likely continue to have a disproportionate toll on many traditionally underserved groups who have higher rates of heart disease and associated risk factors. Commenting on this recognized gap,
Dr. MJ Shah, director of hospice eligibility at Agrace mentioned, “Far too many people of color and LBGTQ+ advanced heart disease patients are not made aware of how NPHI member organizations can provide comprehensive quality at-home care which is covered by Medicare or private insurance or by our NPHI members; no one is turned away because they cannot pay.” Dr. Shah continued, “Through the collaboration, the clinical protocols and patient/family resources will advance care and improve quality of life for those facing advanced heart disease.”
Copies of the Patient and Caregiver guide may be downloaded here.
Please visit agrace.org, or call (608) 276-4660 for more information about Agrace and the Advanced Cardiac Care Program.
Our family, friends, and neighbors with advanced heart disease need not suffer alone anymore.