Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Patient Compliance & The Clinical Pathway

Heart Hugger™ Sternum Support Harness is U.S. FDA Classified, Medicare Approved and conforms conforms to the European Medical Device Directive. It provides a clear alternative to folded sheets, towels, a pillow or teddy bear.
Heart Hugger™ is a simple harness fitting over the shoulders, a four inch wide belt around the chest, finished with handles on either end. The chest belt is adjusted to center the handles over the surgical wound, the patient's hand width apart. Squeezing the handles together with one or both hands tightens the chest belt, supporting the chest wall and stabilizing the sternal wound. Completely encircling the chest, it remains loose and passive until activated by the patient.

The Patient is introduced to Heart Hugger™ prior to surgery as a part of their preoperative education. Following surgery (optimally in the ICU/CCU immediately after extubation) patients are fitted with the device. Following discharge, patients wear the device at home over their street clothes for approximately four to six weeks. In this unsupervised setting it is essential that patients be able to stabilize their sternal wound for continuing respiratory therapy exercises and other stress resulting from the resumption of normal activities.

Used in conjunction with contemporary methods of wiring the sternum and suturing tissue layers, maximal sternal wound stability is achieved. The incidence of sternal infection is reduced and sternal dehiscence is practically eliminated. Additionally, preoperative respiratory capacity levels are achieved sooner when the device is used in conjunction with respiratory therapy exercises.

After a short training period, patients operate the Heart Hugger themselves when they feel the need to stabilize their wound. It is a turning point in the patient's perception of recovery. It returns control to the patient. If patients feel that they have some control over the situation that affects them they will perceive the situation to be less stressful, will be less threatened, and will cooperate and perform better. Patients experience more confidence and independence, taking control of their own recovery sooner, exemplifying the true sense of cardiac rehabilitation and keeping them on the clinical pathway.

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