Nursing Clinic: a team of nurses solve your doubts before and after undergoing an atrial fibrillation ablation

Alba Cano Valls is a nurse in the Arrythmia Unit who runs the Atrial Fibrillation Clinic, a service that this year, 2020, is celebrating its first year of operation.

 

The idea arose in response to the long waiting list for ablation; there was a considerable delay between the medical assessment and the ablation, and consequently patients did not always reach the operation in ideal conditions. The clinic was created as a way of fully preparing patients for handling and treatment of atrial fibrillation.

 

Around 130 patients have passed through the nursing clinic in the first year, receiving attention before and after undergoing an atrial fibrillation ablation. According to Alba, the verdict is positive, since the results in various areas have improved.

 

We are talking to Alba so that she can explain to us how this new service of the Atrial Fibrillation Unit (UFA) at the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona is working.

  • What is the role of the nursing clinic?

The object of the nursing clinic is to empower patients to cope with atrial fibrillation and give them resources for managing arrhythmia episodes and the anxiety that living with arrhythmia entails. It also aims to promote good treatment adherence and monitor cardiovascular risk factors.

In addition, during the preoperative visit the nurse must ensure that the patient arrives at the operation in the best possible physical and also psychological conditions. And in the postoperative visit a check is performed for possible complications.

  • How are you organised?  

The nurse is a member of the team that makes up the AFU. We are a team organised in several specialities, working to give the patient personalised attention and communicating with each other to obtain the best possible results.

Among the professional staff, after so many years working in the AFU, the job is very well established and protocolised and runs like a well-oiled machine. On the other hand, we are constantly learning and seeking to innovate so as to be able to offer users of the unit up-to-date treatments.

  • What is your verdict after the first year in operation?

The verdict is positive, because the provisional results we are seeing show improvement in terms of patient satisfaction, cancellation of ablations, relapses, readmissions and emergency visits.  

  • What is attending to patients with atrial fibrillation like from the nursing point of view?

Above all, we want to come across to patients as friendly and supportive and to resolve their doubts and queries about AF and ablation, offering action strategies for handling
AF, the risk factors and the process of preparing for ablation.

We also have a role as intermediaries between the hospital’s cardiologists and the primary care team to facilitate communication and management.