Regular contact and information provided by nurses trained in case management can lead to health improvements in patients recovering after a myocardial infarction.
Improved muscle strength and blood fat levels, with less significant physical restrictions and healthier diets of the patients, were some of the benefits observed by German researchers.
“The case management led to significant improvement in health status among survivors”
The results are based on the evaluation of data from the KORINNA study, in which researchers examined more than 300 cardiac infarction patients aged 65 years or older.
After being discharged, the patients were randomly divided into two groups. One received standard treatment, while the other received additional so-called case management support from appropriately trained nurses.
This included such measures as informative material at the time of the hospital discharge, home visits, and regular telephone contact at least every three months in the first year and semi-annual calls in the following two years.
Outcomes concerning survivors’ quality of life were “significantly better” in the intervention group, according to the study authors from the Institute of Health Economics and Health Care Management and the Institute of Epidemiology in Neuherberg.
“The case management was cost-neutral and led to an important and significant improvement in health status among survivors,” they concluded in the journal Value in Health.
Nurse case-management helps heart attack patients
Lead author Dr Hildegard Seidl said: “We wanted to test whether or not the greater information density on topics such as medication intake, nutrition, and psychosocial aspects, combined with instructions on the measurement of important parameters such as blood pressure, pulse or blood sugar levels in patients, leads to improved quality of life.
“The results provide scientific evidence that supplementary care in a case management program can cost-effectively improve the health of elderly patients,” she said.
She added: “It is worth considering adding a cardiac infarction diagnosis to the guideline for transferring a physician’s activities to nursing staff in order to allow case management for this patient group.”