New in-patient heart failure unit leads Connecticut in responding to needs of a rising patient population

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (February 10, 2011) – Hospital for Special Care (HSC), one of the nation's largest long-term acute-care hospitals, announces the opening of the first comprehensive heart failure in-patient unit in Connecticut, under the direction of board-certified intensivists and cardiologists.

Designed to stem the cycle of costly emergency room re-admissions for heart failure patients, this unit will treat and assist patients in regaining and maintaining their functional ability while dealing with the complications from their disease.

"Our goal is to stabilize a patient's medical condition, while improving his or her functional ability, helping them return home more quickly," said Paul Scalise, M.D., F.C.C.P., Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs at Hospital for Special Care.  "We have developed this new unit to augment, not replace, what acute care hospitals do for heart failure patients in a cost-effective manner.  Patients in this program will receive a regimen of medical therapy coupled with occupational and physical therapies."

Several factors contribute to the need for this type of unit within a long-term, acute-care hospital.  Due to an aging population, more people are living with heart failure.  Approximately five million Americans suffer from heart failure, and about 550,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.  Treatment continues to evolve and now includes non-pharmacologic, mechanical circulatory support technology such as Left Ventricle Assist Devices (LVAD).

 Lastly, heart failure costs contribute significantly to our nation's healthcare with about 29.6 billion dollars going to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services annually. 

The following people may be candidates for referral into HSC's new program. Patients who:
Have received a diagnosis of heart failure, were discharged from an acute-care hospital within the last 30 days, and require a period of treatment and strengthening;
Have had recurrent admissions to an acute-care hospital for management of their heart failure;
Are preparing for the implantation of a cardiac mechanical assistive device such as a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD), and need strengthening prior to surgery; and
Have recently received a LVAD and need therapy and education prior to returning home.

"Through collaborative efforts with many of the leading acute care hospitals in Connecticut, HSC's 'disease management' approach to heart failure will be a new style of acute care unlike any that we have known," Scalise commented. "Our goal will be to assure that the patient and family understand the disease process and are able to carry over the concepts learned so that they regain an active and independent lifestyle."

For more information on HSC's Comprehensive Cardiac Heart Failure Unit, please visit www.hfsc.org, or call 860.827.4841