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Heart Failure

This section includes the latest evidence-based literature on managing heart failure patients and articles outlining the most up-to-date benchmarks for heart failure care.
Guidelines

Guidelines

Landmark research trials

Cardiac Services BC's programs and priorities are guided by the best research evidence available. Our expert advisory committee meets regularly to review research studies conducted around the world, assessing their quality, outcomes and potential impact for patients and for the health system.

The landmark research trials listed below reflect game-changing studies whose findings have fundamentally shaped the practice of heart failure care in BC.


Resources

Provincial heart function clinic referral forms

These forms assist health care professionals in understanding the information needed to expedite the patients referral to a heart function clinic. They also ensure the appropriate information is forwarded to the heart function clinic to ensure appropriate triaging. Please fill out the form(s), attach the appropriate information and send to your respective heart function clinic.

Provincial heart function clinic patient assessment form 

For use by all health care professionals practicing in a heart function clinic and performing an assessment on a clinic patient. This form ensures standardized information is collected and standardized assessments are performed on each heart function clinic patients resulting in quality care and outcomes patients.


Provincial heart function clinic visit snapshot form

For use by all health care professionals who feel the patient needs a written reminder of what changes have been made to their care plan (e.g., medication, diet) and what new diagnostic tests and/or appointments have been booked.

 

Tips for caring for heart failure patients from specific population groups:


 

Cardiac Services BC's heart failure program has developed a range of patient education materials that cover topics around living with heart failure and understanding the purpose and safe use of prescribed medications.


Health care providers can download the complete BC's Heart Failure Network heart failure patient education resource full package, or see the health info section for patients to access specific documents.

The following resources should be used by all health care professionals educating their patient on how to co-manage their heart failure care.


  • Heart failure 101 – provides the basics on heart failure: what it is, its causes and symptoms, and how it's diagnosed, treated and managed over time. Includes information on the importance of a co-management approach to heart failure.
  • Heart failure zones – shows patients how to assess aspects of their condition and implement the appropriate supports and/or intervention to co-manage their care. Health care professionals should instruct their patients on how to use the form and when and how to access the most appropriate support within their specific health care setting.
  • Daily weights – provides the why, when and how of monitoring their weight every day. The intent is to ensure patients acquire the basic knowledge to co-manage their heart failure condition and understand why it is important to weigh themselves daily and who to contact if they have concerns.
  • Sodium restriction – describes key elements regarding sodium restriction. The intent is to ensure patients acquire the basic knowledge to co-manage their heart failure condition and understand why it is important to restrict sodium in their diet.
  • Fluid restriction – describes key elements regarding fluid restriction. The intent is to ensure patients grasp the importance of fluid restriction and understand the recommended fluid restriction for preventing their heart failure from getting worse.
  • Potassium in food – provides an extensive list of high- and low-potassium foods. The intent is to help patients choose foods that help keep their blood Potassium levels in a normal range.
  • Activity – explains the importance of continuing with daily activity after a diagnosis of heart failure, and how it can make their heart stronger and make them feel better. The intent is to ensure patients acquire the basic knowledge to co-manage their heart failure condition and understand why it is important to continue with activity.
  • Exercise – provides practical advice on the why and how of exercise for patients with heart failure. The intent is to encourage patients to maintain or begin an appropriate exercise program that benefits their health and quality of life.
  • Medication resources – see the heart failure patient education section.

These practice resources can help practitioners ensure the heart failure patient has the best quality of life as they move closer to the end of their life.

Palliative care assessment tool

Heart failure end-of-life symptom management guidelines
Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) deactivation
2014 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress presentation
 

Decision tools

Profession-specific resources

Physicians

Heart function clinic nurses

Diuretic medication

Registered nurse (RN) heart function clinic, diuretic titration clinical decision support tool (CDST): guides practice in the initiation and titration of diuretic medication in the heart function clinic (not for use in acute care or community settings).  The order set must be signed by the physician or nurse practitioner prior to the initiation of the diuretic and titration of the diuretic. The CDST development was guided by the College of Registered Nurses of BC's scope of practice standards, limits and conditions guidelines: section 7.

Competency assessment

Heart failure competency assessment planning & evaluation (HF-CAPE) tool: this tool helps assess the nurse's level of competency regardless of where they are on the continuum of nursing practice in a heart function clinic and provide evidence to College of Registered Nurses of BC that they have met their yearly regulatory requirements in order to practice as an RN in British Columbia.

The HF-CAPE tool is used by heart function RNs to:

  • identify RN heart function clinic practice knowledge gaps and learning needs
  • assist in creating a learning plan to fill in knowledge gaps
  • develop continuing professional competency

It can also be used by:

  • managers, when developing new or revising current job descriptions
  • managers, to develop questions for interview tool
  • RNs, to assess if they have the knowledge to apply for a position in a heart failure clinic
  • mentors, to guide orientation

Documents

Nurse practitioners & family physicians

Heart failure care guideline: this guideline is an interactive algorithm that walks the practitioner though the steps on how to care for a heart failure patient in the clinic or office setting. 

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