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Ventricare – LHC Group’s Heart Failure Program – Earns First AHA Certification of its Kind

by Aug 24, 2022Care0 comments

This past May, the entire LHC Group family was proud of our team at Acadian HomeCare of Lafayette for earning the American Heart Association’s® first-ever official Home Health Heart Failure Certification. The team utilized LHC Group’s new heart failure clinical program, Ventricare. Designed in accordance with the AHA’s rigorous standards for heart failure treatment in the home, the program was the first in the world to receive this certification.

According to the AHA, the certification signifies confidence that:

  • An agency’s heart failure program is based on standards aligned with the American Heart Association science,
  • The agency is recognized by the American Heart Association, based on professional evaluation criteria designed by heart failure and home care experts, and
  • Care is coordinated from pre-admission through working with the home health agency to discharge.

The team at Acadian HomeCare of Lafayette has been instrumental in helping us roll out Ventricare, and their outstanding performance helped us demonstrate the promise behind this newest LHC Group clinical product. The program is currently only being used at our Louisiana locations, but we are planning to expand availability to other states soon.

Ventricare is an is evidence-based, tested program that uses proven methods focused on patient and caregiver education. In addition to meeting the AHA’s rigorous clinical standards for treating heart failure patients, it is built to streamline care coordination between cardiologists, hospitalists, primary care providers, and home health agencies.

What Is Heart Failure?

The heart is a muscle that pumps oxygen-rich blood to all parts of the body. When you have heart failure, the heart is not able to pump as well as it should. Blood and fluid may back up into the lungs, and some parts of the body do not get enough oxygen-rich blood to work normally. These problems lead to symptoms.

There are two types of heart failure – systolic heart failure and diastolic heart failure. Both affect how well the left ventricles can pump blood. You may have one or both types.

Signs and symptoms of worsening heart failure include:

  • Rapid weight gain from fluid buildup
  • Shortness of breath, especially when lying down flat
  • Fast heart rate
  • Cough that will not go away
  • Swelling, especially in the feet (edema), legs, or abdomen
  • Tiredness (fatigue)
  • Nausea or loss of appetite

When the heart does not pump enough blood, body chemicals (hormones) are sent to increase the amount of work the heart does. Some hormones make the heart grow larger. Others tell the heart to pump faster. As a result, the heart may pump more blood at first, but it can’t keep up with the ongoing demands. So, the heart muscle becomes even more weak. Over time, even less blood is pumped through the heart.

This leads to problems throughout the body as organs start to feel the effects of a long-term lack of oxygen. If not treated, over time this can cause problems with your lungs, liver, and kidneys. Long-term edema can also cause skin changes and breakdown. A weak heart itself can eventually cause a severe decline in health and possible death if left untreated.

The Ventricare system features:

  • Skilled nursing in the home, performed by clinicians who must complete over four hours of continuing education specifically focused on heart failure care
  • 1:1 education about heart failure, how it affects the body, how it is treated, lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, and the importance of properly taking medications
  • Proactive order sets that allow physicians to set parameters and orders in advance of symptoms changing
  • Easy to use Bluetooth-connected remote patient-monitoring devices to track daily vitals
  • Virtual care from centralized nurses who specialize in heart failure
  • Social determinants of health checks that ensure the patient has necessary resources to manage their disease
  • Post-discharge check-in calls
  • Real-time data and patient updates for referring physicians

With Ventricare, LHC Group can confidently offer a program that is tested, certified, and teaches patients how to self-manage their disease – delivering the kind of high-quality care we are known for, improving the health and quality of life of our patients, and reducing the chance of an emergency room visit.

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