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L-R: Kelly Brink, instructor in the College of Pharmacy, and Dawn Barker, Clinic Nurse with the Heart Failure Clinic.

Inter-disciplinary health clinic promotes heart care

February 12, 2015 — 

This week (Feb 8-14) is Heart Failure Awareness Week and faculty members from the University of Manitoba Faculty of Health Sciences are hard at work in St. Boniface Hospital’s Heart Failure Clinic providing inter-professional care and management to patients with this chronic disease.

Medical Director Dr. Shelley Zieroth, assistant professor, Internal Medicine in the College of Medicine and Kelly Brink, instructor, College of Pharmacy, are just some of the health professionals who staff this out-patient clinic, focused on interdisciplinary health care plans for patients.

Brink has been with the Clinic since 2006 when she started working at the U of M. “I wanted to stay involved in patient care, so an outpatient clinic like this one was a perfect fit,” she noted. In addition to her work with St. Boniface Hospital, Brink coordinates the Structure Practical Experiential Program for Pharmacy students in second, third and fourth year.

Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle becomes damaged.  Blood is not being pumped as efficiently through the body, which affects multiple organs and can result in a poor quality of life without proper management. It is estimated that there are 500,000 Canadians living with heart failure and 50,000 new patients are diagnosed each year (Ross et al 2006).

The Heart Failure Clinic is one location where patients with this chronic disease receive individualized care from a variety of health professionals such as nurses, physicians, rehabilitation therapists, and more.

“Each professional brings his or her own expertise to educate patients how to best manage their condition at home,” said Brink.

Patients must be referred to the clinic and will meet with several different health care practitioners based on their individual needs. Recommendations on diet, exercise, medications and therapies are built into care plans that are monitored by the interdisciplinary team.

With medication, education and monitoring, the patient’s quality of life can be optimized. “The entire team is extremely knowledge and caring and really does work well together which only benefits our patients,” Brink said.

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