Op Ed: A Handbook Every American Family Should Have On Hand


Heart disease touches every family in America.  It affects one in three adults and kills one in four, more than any other disease.  Tragically, each year, tens of thousands of heart failure patients spend days, weeks, or even months hospitalized and eventually die alone.  This sad situation is totally preventable.

This April, the American Heart Association (AHA) and my organization, the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation (NPHI) announced the Advanced Cardiac Care Program.  This joint program aims to minimize the need for those with heart failure to be rushed to the emergency room and hospitalized boosting their ability to be cared for in their home or wherever they reside.

NPHI, which I am proud to serve as CEO, is the national voice for 79 not-for-profit hospice and advanced illness care providers offering primary medical and lifestyle care at home, even for those heart failure patients who are not terminal.

Our joint mission prioritizes patients and not profits.  Thus, regardless of ability to pay—we turn no patient and their family away.  Ever.

NPHI and the AHA in April jointly released an Advanced Cardiac Care Patient and Caregiver Handbook.  This comprehensive guide includes self-care tips to manage symptoms, techniques to relax and reduce stress, information on medications, dietary suggestions including heart healthy recipes, and much more.  Our two organizations believe every family in America should have a copy and we both provide the handbook at no cost at our respective websites.

Knowing about this handbook and about NPHI member in-home care is especially important for people of color who have higher rates of heart disease and associated risk factors Plus, many marginalized groups and the LBGTQ+ community need to hear from our community-based partners such as local businesses, faith-based groups, and other charities about our care for all wherever they reside and regardless of their insurance coverage and financial status.

NPHI Members serve over 130,000 patients and several million family members every day.  We have the capacity to care for many more who suffer from heart failure and have no idea that they need not make emergency calls and endure many hospitalizations over the course of their coping with this disease.  No one should ever die alone of heart failure and everyone should have our new comprehensive guide to advanced cardiac care.

Tom Koutsoumpas