I am pleased to announce that the first few weeks of our new clinic for patients with congestive heart failure have been a resounding success! It has been extremely rewarding to work with Lana, our nurse practitioner, and see the difference that this interprofessional, collaborative model of care has made. Lana is able to counsel patients in a comprehensive manner and support them far more effectively than I ever could by myself. Patient education on lifestyle and medication, advance care directives, and frequent contact and monitoring have all helped patients substantially. We have been able to titrate medications much more rapidly and effectively, and we have done so working in concert with the patient’s family physicians and other involved specialists.
Recently, we have seen three patients on short notice, who were clearly volume overloaded and quite unwell. They were also scared and only remembered part of the instructions they had heard in their earlier physician visits. Two of them were sick enough that they were thinking of going into the hospital. But we were able to assess them, increase their diuretic dose (and heart failure medication) and review education in detail. All three of them managed to avoid hospitalization, and got better quickly!
It is extremely gratifying to see sick patients get well, and to really benefit from this interprofessional model of care. I hope that other practices can be inspired by our experience and that jursidications can see the benefit of nurse practitioners and collaborative care models, and support them whenever feasible. In the end, patients benefit tremendously.