Atrial Fibrillation in the Long-Term Care Setting
Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is a serious health problem, the most common arrhythmia requiring hospital admission, and is associated with an increase in mortality. Because the prevalence of AF increases steadily with age, the number of patients in the post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) setting who have or are at risk for AF can be expected to rise in the near future. An urgent need therefore exists for PALTC interdisciplinary teams to understand AF and to be able to address it promptly and effectively. Members of the interdisciplinary team need to understand the importance of AF and contribute to an individualized management plan to reduce complications and optimize quality of life for patients with AF.
The treatment of AF involves choosing treatment goals and strategies and deciding whether to pursue certain medical or surgical treatments. The practitioner and patient has several goals to consider in managing AF, prevention of stroke and systemic thromboembolism; prevention of tachycardia-induced cardiomyopathy; control of symptoms and; restoration and maintenance of sinus rhythm. Treatment to achieve these goals in this population has many challenges. The information in this manual discusses the challenges of this population and will help guide the practitioner in that decision making. The manual will also help the IDT recognize both the descript and non descript sign and symptoms of AF, as well as the risk factors, and provide guidance on when to call the practitioner for that medically necessary visit.
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