Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Heart patients should be referred to Cardiac Rehabilitation before leaving hospital
"Healthcare practitioners can increase the number of patients referred to a cardiac rehabilitation program by 45 per cent, helping them to reduce their risk of dying and improve their quality of life, say researchers at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. Previous studies, including one by Taylor in 2004, indicate that participating in cardiac rehab after a cardiac illness, such as a heart attack, can reduce the risk of death by approximately 25 per cent, a reduction similar to that of other standard therapies such as cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) and aspirin. In spite of this evidence, only 20 to 30 per cent of patients are referred to a cardiac rehabilitation program after hospital discharge, a phenomenon observed in many countries. Researchers at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre explored multiple strategies to increase referrals to cardiac rehabilitation programs at 11 hospitals across Ontario, including using a discharge checklist for doctors, electronic referral in medical records and talking with patients at the bedside. According to the study, "Effect of Cardiac Rehabilitation Referral Strategies on Utilization Rates," published in the February 14 edition of the Journal Archives of Internal Medicine, a combined approach – a checklist or electronic referral and talking with patients – can increase referrals by 45 per cent. By targeting both healthcare providers and patients, over 70 per cent of patients enroll in cardiac rehab."