Patients with congestive heart failure to benefit from $30K grant

Staff Report

A program that aims to keep congestive heart failure patients out of the hospital is able to help more patients, thanks to a $30,000 donation from the Blazer Foundation. The donation to the Rockford Memorial Development Foundation is designated for the Visiting Nurses Association’s (VNA) telehealth monitoring program.

The program, which began in 2008, allows high-risk patients to remain at home and avoid hospitalization by remotely monitoring their medical condition. Thanks to the generous grant from the Blazer Foundation, VNA purchased 20 additional monitors, making a total of 82 monitoring devices.

In November 2012, Rockford Health System’s Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) and its Heart and Vascular Center recognized a significant number of congestive heart failure patients could benefit from the program, even though they were not eligible under Medicare. They worked collaboratively to establish a pilot program to monitor these patients.

The telehealth nurse uses the monitors to observe the patient’s vitals while the patient remains at home. If necessary, video calls allow the nurse to visibly see the patient. If the vitals are out of range or the nurse has other concerns, he alerts the patient’s cardiology staff, which then contacts the patient to address any health issues or schedule an appointment.

Since the pilot began, overall readmissions at Rockford Memorial Hospital have dropped from 25 percent to 15 percent. Readmission rates for those patients in the Heart and Vascular program have dropped to 7 percent.

From the Aug. 6-12, 2014, issue

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