Interview with a Heart Failure Specialist: Preventative Cardiology Services for SNF Residents via Telehealth
Dr. Sanul Corrielus has joined SAGE as a heart failure specialist and board-certified Cardiologist serving skilled nursing residents via telehealth in Pennsylvania. We took a few minutes to interview him about the benefits of utilizing telehealth to prevent heart failure crisis events and drive down rehospitalizations through preventative care.
Q: Please tell us about your passion for community healthcare and serving skilled nursing facility residents.
A: My passion for community health comes from my personal experience of my father dying of heart failure. He was putting his best foot forward when visiting his provider, so they weren’t aware of the underlying health issues. As a provider, we have the best insights into what’s going on with the residents when we connect with them, understand the issues firsthand, and speak with the team about what’s actually going on.
Q: What is your heart failure treatment philosophy?
A: I take a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach. Heart failure is a very complex disease that needs a comprehensive approach in order to treat it as such. The treatment of heart failure is not just in the hands of the physician but requires an alignment of the physician and non-physician providers to be able to take care of the whole patient. The nutritionist plays an important role. If I put a treatment plan in place and the patient is not eating well that will not bring the patient to the desired outcome. The physical therapist’s involvement is equally important to help the patient understand that they need to move, get out of bed, and walk. These activities will improve heart health.
A clinical social worker or psychologist can assist with understanding the condition. Mental Health comes first. The patient often needs mental health support to push on and participate in activities that will improve heart health.
Finally, we need to have a collaborative relationship with the primary care physician so that they are also involved and understand the treatment plan for the patient.
Q: How can telemedicine help prevent further heart problems following a heart failure event?
A: Telemedicine allows us to improve access to care. This is crucial in preventing the next health crisis for the resident because telehealth helps us provide direct access to the specialist and the team. A lot of times that’s how patients end up back at the hospital—they leave the hospital and aren’t receiving follow up care and then they show back up at the hospital. Telemedicine has improved our ability to see the need and adjust to the problem that is caught properly to prevent the next event.
Q: How can working with a heart failure cardiology specialist help prevent unnecessary hospital readmissions?
A: It has to do with protocols. We speak with the DON and nursing staff about setting protocols for that patient. The protocol helps determine who needs attention from their heart failure specialist much sooner than otherwise. For example, weight will be a marker and lab work related to electrolyte levels, as well as other metrics. We will design and customize the protocol based on the SNF and work with them to create a protocol that is suited for them. We will work with them to understand what triggers would lead to the next level of care.
If you are interested in scheduling secure telehealth appointments with Dr. Corrielus or another SAGE provider, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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