Heart Failure and Palliative Care
While palliative care was originally designed for cancer patients, it has expanded to include those with other life-limiting conditions, including heart failure. Although, heart failure is recognized as a disease that may have high symptom burden and high mortality, only a relatively small number of heart failure patients receive palliative care.
St. Paul’s Heart Failure Supportive Care Clinic
In January 2011, the Heart Failure Supportive Care (HeF) Clinic was introduced at St. Paul’s Hospital. Its goal is to improve quality of life for patients with advanced HF, who have moderate to severe symptoms despite appropriate medical management and who are generally not candidates for advanced therapy, such as left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) or heart transplantation.
We believe that it is helpful to see patients early in their disease trajectory. Patients’ preferences such as Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) status, implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) activation status, and where they would like to live as they approach end of life are discussed. A careful history and physical exam is collected for each patient and is focused on symptom management. The main goal of care is to use pharmacological and or non-pharmacological interventions to reduce discomfort or suffering.
Referral to the Heart Failure Supportive Care Clinic is done through your cardiologist at SPH.