Given the high prevalence of heart failure (HF) in the elderly, it is essential to establish medical coordination between general practitioners (GPs) and acute care hospitals (ACHs) in an aging society. The aim of this study was to elucidate the status of acceptance of elderly patients with HF and their management requirements in a comprehensive community health system. Furthermore, we investigated GPs’ interest in using information and communications technology (ICT) in patient care. We sent a questionnaire survey to 1,800 GPs in January 2015 and received 392 replies. The overall prevalence of home visits was 55%, with no differences according to GP background characteristics or geographic area. However, less than half (44%) reported accepting patients with symptomatic HF for treatment in their clinic. In addition, only 3 GPs reported accepting and providing emergency visits for patients with refractory HF. In particular, GPs who were not certificated cardiologists, female, and older showed poorer acceptance of symptomatic HF patients. More than half the GPs wanted the prompt acceptance by ACHs of emergency patients, followed by strengthening of home care support at discharge and support for end-of-life care. Half the GPs were interested in telemedicine. ACHs must promptly accept patients with HF in cases of emergency and strengthen nursing care support at discharge. It is also necessary to consider how to support older and female GPs.
About The Expert
Yayoi Tetsuou Tsukada