Care for Vulnerable Elderly in Cardiology: A Program for Daily Practice

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The percentage of cardiac patients aged ≥75 has increased considerably over the past decades. To optimize multidisciplinary care for these frail elderly, a program of intensive medical and nursing care was started at Noord West Ziekenhuisgroep department of cardiology.


Patients over 70 years of age, admitted to the department of cardiology, were included and treated by the advanced practice nurse according to a redesigned care process that focused on expedite mobilization and care by an advanced practice nurse-headed team including the first outpatient visit.


A total of 951 patients over 70 years were included in the frail elderly project. The average length of stay of the frail elderly was 6 days (SD 5). In the first 30 days, after discharge, 12% of these patients were readmitted with heart failure and 2% with dehydration. Mortality during admission was 3%, and 11% died within 3 months after discharge.


This observational study shows, during a 4-year period, the vulnerability of aged cardiac patients. They were mainly admitted for (diastolic) heart failure, usually in combination with atrial fibrillation and hypertension. Their length of stay was on average 6 days with 11% mortality at 90 days follow-up.

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