Module C: Pharmaceutical Treatments and Interventions

CE Credits: 2.0

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Pharmaceuticals play a major role in HF treatment, and this module explores how the proper use of the right medications—a selection that is ever-expanding—can help slow the disease and preserve quality of life for HF patients. First, the module explains how specific types of medications—such as ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) or diuretics—can help patients with different stages or symptoms of HF. The module then details the possible side effects or contraindications of the most common drugs, and even how some drugs, when used together—such as hydralazine and nitrates—work better in combination than they each would alone. The module also explains why certain common medications—such as antiarrhythmic agents or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)—can worsen the symptoms of HF. Finally, the module explores how various forms of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)—such as mind and body practices—can support treatment of HF.

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Learning objectives: After completing this module the case manager will be able to:
» Discuss medication management
» Review types of pharmaceutical agents
» Discuss other cardiovascular medications used in conjunction with HF management
» Describe medications that are commonly contraindicated
» Discuss issues associated with managing complex medication regimens
» Review the use of complementary and alternative medicine

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Advance your professional practice:: Because proper medication is so important in the care of patients with heart failure—and can lower the chances of readmission—case managers need to have a firm grasp on the most common and effective therapies, so that we can support patients as they embark on any new medication regimen. Part of that support involves making sure that patients have an involved pharmacist as part of a transdisciplinary team.

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Improve organizational performance: Not taking medications properly or consistently at home is one common reason that HF patients are at high risk for hospital readmission. When the team understands the importance and best practices for the pharmaceutical treatment of HF, we can help our patients avoid readmission, and help the hospital reduce its unreimbursed costs.