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Keywords:

  • counseling;
  • heart failure;
  • myocardial infarction;
  • discharge

Hospital to Home is a quality-based initiative led by the American College of Cardiology and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, aimed at reducing 30-day hospital readmission rates for patients with heart failure or myocardial infarction. Several factors have been shown to attribute to early readmission for these conditions including comorbidities, environmental factors, insufficient discharge planning, lack of health literacy, and nonadherence to drug therapy. Pharmacists play a significant role in reducing readmissions by ensuring that appropriate evidence-based pharmacotherapy regimens have been prescribed during hospitalization; monitoring for drug duplications, medication errors, and adverse reactions; and performing medication reconciliation. Studies have demonstrated the role of pharmacists in reducing medication-related visits to the emergency department as well as hospital readmissions, solely by preventing adverse drug events. Although all of these factors impact early readmissions, providing quality counseling to the patient as well as the patients' caregiver(s) at discharge is critical in order to optimize adherence as well as outcomes. In order to accomplish the goal of reducing readmissions, health care providers must partner together across the continuum of care and include pharmacists as pivotal members of the health care team. In this best practice statement, we summarize key components of discharge counseling for patients with heart failure or myocardial infarction including medication use, medication dose and frequency, drug interactions, medications to avoid, common adverse effects, role of the medication in the disease state, signs and symptoms of the disease, diet, the patient's role in self-care (lifestyle modifications), and when patients should seek medical advice.