United we stand, divided we conquer: Pilot study of multidisciplinary General Medicine Heart Failure Care Program

Omar Wahbi-Izzettin, Ingrid Kate Hopper, Edward Ritchie, Vathy Nagalingam, Ar Kar Aung

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Background: Heart failure care and education require a multifaceted approach to ensure appropriate transition from inpatient to outpatient care. Aims: To explore the feasibility of a multidisciplinary heart failure care model, General Medicine Heart Failure Care Program (GM-HFCP), within a General Medical Unit (GMU). Methods: Prospective non-randomised before-and-after observational quality improvement intervention over a 6-month period was conducted. All consecutive patients admitted to GMU at Alfred Hospital, Melbourne with a diagnosis of acute decompensated heart failure were included. Main outcome measures included changes in rates of pharmacologic prescription, non-pharmacologic ward-based management, patient education and action plan provision after intervention. Results: In total, 108 patients were included (median age 84 (inter-quartile range 80–89) years, 47(44%) females). Significant improvements were noted in non-pharmacologic management for patient education regarding fluid restriction (12–30%, P = 0.04), weight monitoring (10–28%, P = 0.03), heart failure action plan on discharge (4–28%, P = 0.002) and salt restriction (6–32%, P = 0.002). The rates of prescription of heart failure medications remained similar between the pre- and post-implementation periods, particularly in patients with reduced ejection fraction by ‘appropriateness of prescription’ criteria. There were no differences in inpatient mortality or 30-day readmission rates in both groups. Conclusions: This prospective observational study demonstrated that it is possible to share the roles of a heart failure nurse amongst members of the multidisciplinary team, with similar rates of delivery of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic management aspects. However, further innovative improvements are needed to address certain aspects of heart failure care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-183
Number of pages6
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • care plan
  • healthcare quality
  • heart failure
  • nursing
  • patient education

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