Current organization of specialist pulmonary hypertension clinics: results of an international survey

Optimal pulmonary hypertension (PH) management relies on a timely, accurate diagnosis and follow-up in specialized clinics by multidisciplinary teams that have clearly defined responsibilities and protocols. Internationally agreed criteria for expert center staff are lacking, particularly with respect to nurses, who often act as a central component of the team. This survey aimed to evaluate the current organization of PH clinics and the role of nurses. The survey (35 questions) was online February–December 2015 and was advertised at international PH nurse meetings and through international PH organizations to their corresponding clinics. In total, 126 healthcare professionals from 32 countries responded. According to respondents, 54% of clinics managed >200 patients, of whom 49% had a pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) diagnosis, on average. In terms of staff, 66% had a dedicated program administrator, 35% had one full-time nurse coordinator/practitioner/specialist, and 57% had a nurse attend outpatient clinic alongside a physician. Crucially, not all centers had a nurse in their team. The role of a nurse coordinator/practitioner/specialist varied with 51% taking patient histories/examinations and 66% managing outpatients. In 34% of clinics, nurses were involved in their own research. Protocols were available for PH therapies (81%), management of heart failure (37%) and pain (26%), and referring patients who did not have PAH/chronic thromboembolic PH back to their specialist (62%). Not all clinics are meeting all of the standards outlined in the latest guidelines with key areas of improvement being level of support from/for nurses, clear protocols, and referral pathways.

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Topics

Pulmonary Hypertension
health policy

Authors

Carolyn Doyle-Cox, Gail Nicholson, Traci Stewart, Wendy Gin-Sing

Published in:

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 9: No 2 cover image

June 2019

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 9: No 2

View this journal

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