The Heart Failure Unit was created in 2009, based on the collaboration between the Cardiology and Internal Medicine Departments. It is made up of cardiologists, internists, specialists in geriatrics and emergency services. Heart failure is the fastest growing heart disease in our society.
Heart failure is the leading cause of major hospitalisation. The ageing population and improvements in medical procedures are both factors that mean several forms of heart disease (valvular, coronary and hypertensive) end up going beyond acute phases and result in heart failure.
Though the mortality of patients during hospitalisation is not very high (4.7%), it is worrying that, once they have been discharged, the rate of readmissions and morbidity and mortality are high (50% mortality 18 months after discharge).
Our basic objectives are, on the one hand, to improve the quality of life of patients with heart failure, reducing the number of admissions, readmissions and trips to the Emergency Ward, and, on the other, to apply a protocol for medical action. This involves optimising care resources and thereby reducing the financial impact of the disease. It also means incorporating the latest technologies, depending on the needs of each patient.
The opening of a day hospital has been key. Its functions are: to monitor all patients discharged from the Hospital having suffered heart failure, once the criteria for entering the Programme have been met; to make it easier and faster for patients to access the Unit in case of decompensation or acute episodes, eliminating barriers to access. Communication with the consultation and advice line has also been improved, along with drop-in services during office hours at the day hospital, both for patients who are within the Programme and their relatives and the professionals from primary care centres.
Finally, the Unit offers an open outpatient clinic for patients who have been discharged from the Hospital as well as for those who can be referred to primary care centres, to see either doctors or nurses. The doctors: perform a rapid diagnosis of heart failure syndrome, optimise treatment and monitor patients admitted or patients attended to at the day hospital. The nurses: educate patients and their relatives in the standards of care for patients with heart failure and provide regular home and telephone contact.
As heart failure is a condition that transcends any single health field, and the Hospital is just one of the ingredients in addressing this type of patient, a Heart Failure Group has been created for this catchment area, known as the Muntanya Primary Care Department, which structures the care provided for these patients in seven basic levels that are organised as follows:
- Primary care
- Specialist consultations
- Hospital A&E
- Conventional hospitalisation
- Hospital at home
- Heart Failure Unit
- Centre for Monitoring Chronic Diseases
From 10:00 to 17:30 h.
Rosalia Moure arrived at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in 1967. She spent her entire working life in the linen and laundry department of the Hospital. Rosalia Moure has witnessed the Hospital’s big transformations, from dictatorship to democracy and from analogue to digital systems.
Dr. Josep Sánchez de Toledo Codina, head of the Paediatric Haematology and Oncology Department, tells us about a Department that has laid the foundations for the specialism in Spain. He also remembers the evolution of transplants from haematopoietic stem cells and progenitors, from the beginning, buying the material at a shop in Barcelona city centre, to the more than 1,200 transplants that have now been performed.
Dr. Francesc Bosch, Head of the Haematology Department, talks about the complexity of the Department, which has turned Vall d’Hebron into a reference centre in haematology thanks to its commitment to transplants and the use of new treatments. The Clinical Trials Unit helps a lot, giving access to treatments for complex patients.
The Master's Degree in Biomedical and Translational Research is an official programme created to train researchers with the requisite combination of scientific knowledge and skills to contribute to the future success of biomedical research.
Fermín Fernández Álvarez, Porter Coordinator, explains the importance of the role these professionals play in the hospital. After 36 years at Vall d’Hebron, Fermín is a real master of the ways things are done. He says that a porter has to combine humility, discretion and safety with a single goal: that patients receive human and friendly treatment.