The American College of Cardiology has created a set of plain-language tools to help patients who have heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) manage their conditions. The tools aim to help patients and clinicians make the most of follow-up visits and support Transform HFrEF, a national study focused on improving care and outcomes for patients with heart failure.
Many patients living with heart failure often feel overwhelmed not only by the number of medications they take, but also because they must closely monitor their symptoms and make modifications to avoid having to go to the hospital. Better tracking of changes that occur in between follow-up visits is needed for clinicians to provide optimal care.
In the office, patients and clinicians have limited time together. It's difficult to review every part of an ideal heart failure management program and answer all questions that a patient might have during a single visit. Still, we know that when patients understand their disease and how their treatment works, they feel better, live longer and avoid hospitalization. They are also more likely to follow the treatment plan. Patients equipped with basic information and resources are empowered to play an active role in their care.
The Transform HFrEF materials reflect what patients said they wanted to know more about and what would have helped them when they were first diagnosed with heart failure. Clinicians also have vetted the resources. The tools include:
My Action Plan for Heart Failure: a post-visit tool to reinforce any adjustments to a care plan
Making the Most of My Follow-Up Visits: a worksheet for patients to use in between appointments to help track how they feel, heart failure symptoms, how the condition limits their ability to do certain activities, as well as their perceived self-efficacy with managing their condition
My Daily Heart Failure Tracker: a worksheet to record daily weights and how they feel generally
My Heart Failure Checklist: reminders for managing heart failure well
A series of worksheets that provide guidance on many of the topics we talk about during medical visits but may not have enough time to go into detail about. For example, how to record daily weights, stay active, limit salt, take medications, watch for triggers that can make heart failure worse, understand symptoms and pay attention to emotional health.
Download and print the tools to start using them today. For more information about heart failure, visit CardioSmart.org/HeartFailure.