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McKesson Clinical Connection™ talks: Congestive heart failure

CHF is the leading cause of hospital readmissions in adults over 65 years of age. Our clinical resource team discusses strategies and tools to help prevent, diagnose and treat CHF.


  • Patti Baicy, Director,  Clinical Resource Team, McKesson Medical-Surgical
  • Veronica Crawford, Clinical Support Manager, McKesson Medical-Surgical

Full transcript:

[Patti] Welcome to McKesson Clinical Connection Talks. I'm Patti Baicy, and today I talk with Veronica Crawford about how to reduce hospital readmissions due to congestive heart failure. ♪ [music] ♪ I want to thank you for joining me here today. Can you review some of the presenting symptoms for congestive heart failure?

[Veronica] A key symptom is going to be anything that would indicate fluid overload which would include weight gain, primarily. If they're coughing excessively, pillow propping, needing additional support, shortness of breath, or a decrease in their oxygen saturation.

All those point to symptoms of fluid overload. We're also listening to the heart sounds, listening for that third heart sound there.

I really would like to discuss a program that you all have developed with our customers for how they can reduce avoidable hospital readmissions.

Well, I strongly recommend that they have, in place, a clinical education program, educating the staff, as well as patient and caregivers on congestive heart failure. The most current protocols for treatment as well as just signs and symptoms of exacerbation. I think those are key.

I would also recommend that there be a champion or someone who is well-versed in congestive heart failure and can assist the other staff members.

What are some of the things that you recommend a facility or an agency can do to prevent, diagnose, and treat congestive heart failure?

Medication compliance is very important for patients with congestive heart failure. I also recommend monitoring the patient's weight on a consistent level at the same time every day, same scale. Diagnosis, we've certainly got the tools that are there for assessment, stethoscopes and ECG monitoring and lab.

And for treatment, IV therapy that we can administer for those patients but also changing their medications if necessary.

What are some of the tools and resources that you think would be valuable in the fight against hospital readmissions?

I think a primary resource would be the Congestive Heart Failure Readmission Resource tool. I think a lot of work has gone into creating something that is all-encompassing, and that offers not only education but offers additional products as well as treatment protocols. We've also worked with our partners so that the INTERACT tools have been brought into the tool.

So the Stop and Watch, Change in Condition, all of those as a part of the readmission prevention.

In your experience, Veronica, do you feel that having the correct products on hand make a big difference in preventing congestive heart failure?

Absolutely. We've found that making sure that there is a quality stethoscope and that you can understand and hear those heart sounds is important. Making sure that the scale is accurate and it's that quality scale, as well as a pulse oximeter for checking your saturation.

So certainly, the products that we have access to are very important.

Well, I appreciate all the work that you all have put into this program. And, thank you for joining me today. ♪ [music] ♪

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