I was feeling dead chuffed (as my UK friends would say) to be published again in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) recently.(1) As part of their What Your Patient Is Thinking series, my guest essay includes what I now wish I’d known before being sent home from the Cardiac Care Unit following my heart attack diagnosis and treatment.
After I was discharged from the Coronary Care Unit following my heart attack, I felt puzzled because, other than a pile of reading material about heart-healthy eating, I was pretty well booted out the door with virtually no follow-up care plan once I got home.
So when my friend Viv’s daughter Kate phoned me a few days later (Kate happens to be a cardiac nurse at CCU), I had an endless list of panicky questions for her about my surprisingly distressing ongoing chest pains along with dozens of other issues. I was convinced that another heart attack was imminent – an extremely terrifying prospect for a freshly diagnosed heart patient. She was able to answer my questions (“Sounds like what we call stretching pain – very common!”) and reassured me that I just might make it through another day alive.
Canadian researchers in Ottawa have developed a simple tool for hospital staff to predict the probability that patients like me, discharged directly from hospital back to the community, will be readmitted – or die – within 30 days.
The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, could help identify patients who may benefit from closer monitoring and care so that serious health problems can be prevented. Continue reading “The simple tool that predicts how well you’ll do after discharge from hospital”