Next up in the nursing news this week is a look at the progress with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Million Hearts initiative. The CDC recently reported on the progress so far with this initiative that started in 2011. The goals of the program are to prevent 1 million heart attacks by the year 2016.

CDC Publishes Million Hearts Initiative Update

Onset of a Heart AttackThe CDC update was published in their May 30 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Unfortunately the progress is not as good as had been hoped at this point in the process. While Americans are more aware of their weight and cholesterol levels, they are not doing what is needed to significantly lower them.

I reported recently on the show in another news item that adults on statin drugs were actually eating a higher fat diet than a decade ago, seemingly thinking that the medication gave them “a Pass” on working on their diet and fat intake. The report states that despite a large number of public education and health initiatives, many people are still engaging in unhealthy behaviors.

Can We Stop 1 Million Heart Attacks Through Prevention?

The specific goals of the Million Hearts initiative are to encourage more people to take control of their blood pressure, cholesterol levels, take daily aspirin if you’ve had a heart attack, and stop smoking. The only measure that has seen some significant improvement is that more people are taking blood pressure medication than had been before with 52% of people at risk taking these meds.

Still, many at-risk adults are still smoking and ingesting dangerously high levels of sodium. The report seems to indicate that direct recommendation by a person’s health care provider seemed to have the biggest impact and this is where we can make a splash. Ask the question about patient’s habits that put them at risk and then offer them constructive suggestions on how they can create a plan to change these risks. Don’t just give them a recommendation but offer concrete advice on implementing change.

Let’s see what we can do to bring these numbers up for future reports.

Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Clinical Scene Investigator CSI Leadership Program for Nurses and Episode 298.

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