Nearly 6.5 million Americans are living with heart failure and approximately 550,000 additional cases are diagnosed each year. Heart Failure (HF) is a debilitating and life-threatening condition that also impairs relationships and emotional well-being. February 10 through the 16 is Heart Failure Awareness week. This week is designed to inform the public about heart failure. Educating and promoting self-care strategies is vital in the lives of HF patients. Research has shown that visual and auditory tools enhance patient’s ability to remember information. In support of Heart Failure Awareness Week, the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses (AAHFN) has created a C.A.R.E. card for the nurse and the HF patient.
Key objectives of the campaign are:
- For nurses, the C.A.R.E. mnemonic is a way to facilitate comprehensive care and teaching for heart failure patients. Based on the proposed mnemonic, nurses should:
C: Connect with the team to clarify the care plan.
A: Assess patients’ condition and readiness to learn.
R: Reinforce necessary information, including follow up appointments, medication teaching and dietary restrictions.
E: Use Evidence-based interventions to foster retention of the information taught, such as teach-back strategies and education materials from trusted sources.
- For patients, the same mnemonic may be adjusted to help them remember key components of their care plan.
C: Connect withthe health care team.
A: Ask questions to the heart failure nurse if needed.
R: Report any concerning symptoms including leg cramps, palpitations, changes in vital signs, or any feelings of discomfort. One should discuss medications with their provider each time they see them.
E: Engage with the health care provider. Take medications and follow a prescribed diet and exercise plan.
In addition, on the AAHFN website (aahfn.org) there are tools to help the Heart Failure patient remember to take their medicine, be aware of sodium intake, and a cookbook for heart-healthy recipes. Heart Failure patients and caregivers can connect with other patients and caregivers as well as learn about the disease on www.togetherinhf.com. Together in HF social network is an innovative resource for information and support and a place to meet others with similar health experiences.