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Congestive Heart Failure Self-Care College

The Congestive Heart Failure Self-Care College improves the quality of life for patients. The program's goals are to reduce symptoms, such as shortness of breath, fluid retention, fatigue and weakness, and to educate patients on how to better manage their condition. The mission of the Self-Care College is to reduce the 30-day readmission rate.

NMMC treats approximately 600 patients each year who have a primary diagnosis of congestive heart failure. These patients rotate through a simulation lab on 3 South with three learning stations—weight, diet and medication.

A physical therapist or cardiac rehabilitation professional stresses the importance of weighing daily and ensures that each patient knows how to properly weigh himself. If the patient does not own scales, he is given some to take home.

At the diet station, a registered dietitian discusses fluid restriction, acceptable foods and foods to avoid.

A pharmacist offers instruction and answers questions at the medication station.

A representative from Nurse Link enrolls each patient in a four-week call back program.

Instead of the usual method of passive teaching with a handout or educational book, the Self-Care College incorporates active learning by asking the patient or caregiver to perform tasks that they will be required to do at home. If a patient can not complete the task, the deficit is recognized and addressed.

Each patient takes home a folder full of information about managing congestive heart failure, a personal health record to take to each physician and pharmacy visit, and information about prescription assistance and tobacco cessation. Patients also get a calendar for recording daily weight, as well as signs and symptoms that indicate congestive heart failure is worsening.

For more information about the Congestive Heart Failure Self-Care College, call (662) 377-3810 or 1-800-THE DESK (1-800-843-3375).

For a printable booklet about Congestive Heart Failure, click here.