Letter: Preventive health steps are helpful
Monday, March 11, 2013
I am a cardiac nurse and care for many patients with heart failure, the most common reason for hospitalization in patients over 65. Many patients experience frequent re-admissions related to lack of preventative maintenance. Frequent costly re-admissions and life-threatening complications can be avoided by careful management of weight and diet.
I recently learned of a forward-thinking insurance company that employs a nurse educator specifically to assist patients in managing their heart failure. They give patients a scale that sends their daily weights directly to the nurse. Historically, preventative medicine has been overlooked by insurance companies, ultimately to their financial detriment.
By focusing on prevention of decompensated heart failure, patients will suffer less, live longer, and insurance companies will not have to pay for as many hospital services. With the proper tools, these patients can maintain quality of life and live longer.
Signs and symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, fatigue, sleeping upright, anxiety, swelling in the extremities, and increased heart rate. Every patient should receive enough education and support to manage their health properly.