Samaritan, a regional leader for hospice care based in Mount Laurel, announced it is collaborating with the American Heart Association and the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation to launch an Advanced Cardiac Care Program to address the leading cause of death in the U.S. — heart disease.
With more Americans dying from heart disease than any other condition, including cancer, the need for hospice and palliative care services tailored to the specific needs of cardiac patients has grown, Samaritan CEO Mary Ann Boccolini said.
“Our goal is to address the unique needs of those individuals living with advanced cardiac disease and provide an extra layer of support and guidance to them, and those who care about them, so they can live their best life every day,” she said.
“Samaritan is the only hospice provider in New Jersey collaborating with the AHA and NPHI in this exciting new program.”
NPHI President Carole Fisher said the program is needed.
“It is a complete and unnecessary tragedy that only 5% of heart failure patients who are discharged from the hospital ever utilize in-home hospice services,” she said. “Far too many die alone in a hospital or nursing facility, when, instead, our hospice teams could care for them wherever they reside and they could enjoy a far higher quality of life surrounded by loved ones.”
Through the ACC Program, patients receive quality, coordinated holistic care from an expert team of medical professionals, including a physician, nurse, social worker, certified home health aide and spiritual support counselor. When needed, bereavement support is also available for the patient and their family members.
Dr. Stephen Goldfine, the chief medical officer at Samaritan, said the Samaritan care team works together with the patient’s cardiologist, primary care doctor and others to ensure the patient receives coordinated, patient-centered care.
“At Samaritan, our patients are at the core of our health care team,” he said. “In addition to being experts in pain and symptom management, our medical professionals are also trained to help patients navigate their illness and talk about what types of care they may or may not want as their disease progresses. It is very important that their wishes be documented and followed, and we make sure that happens.”
This approach results in better-quality outcomes and, most importantly, improved quality of life for both patients and their loved ones, he said. Data shows those living with advanced cardiac disease can even live longer when they utilize hospice services.
As part of the ACC Program, hospice and palliative care services are provided to cardiac patients either in-home, in an assisted living or nursing home facility, or in one of Samaritan’s two inpatient centers — the Samaritan Center at Voorhees or the Samaritan Center at Mount Holly.
“Environments may change, depending on the patient’s individual circumstances or wishes, but our approach to care never wavers,” Goldfine said. “Patients and their families receive expert guidance and personalized support from our team of medical professionals — as well as the peace of mind knowing they are in hands of medical professionals trained to address, navigate and support the specific needs of cardiac patients.”