NCH Atherton Heart Failure Clinic Fills a Growing Need for Chronic Heart Failure Disease Management

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If you receive a diagnosis of heart failure, there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel – and her name is Karolee Fill, RN, APN. Fill runs the newly opened NCH Atherton Heart Failure Clinic in Mount Prospect.

For nine years, Fill held tight to her dream of helping NCH open a heart failure clinic. Friends and colleagues call her a ‘woman of perseverance,’ and it’s easy to see why. Getting approval for the clinic took years of planning, persuasion and pluckiness – and Fill excels at all three. Finally, thanks to the generous donation of community member Martha Atherton, among others, the heart failure clinic opened its doors in October.

“Research shows that there is often a gap in heart failure care after people leave the hospital,” she says. “Following up with these patients in a timely manner is critical to their health.”

The new heart failure clinic is a community resource that provides education, support and a much-needed connection to doctors’ offices. The education may include meeting with a dietitian, pharmacist, social worker or the palliative care team. And, the education isn’t just for patients – it’s for family members, too.

“Just 15 years ago, someone with heart failure had a much shorter life expectancy than they do today,” Fill says. “Now, thanks to understanding how to better treat and support people with heart failure, we can add precious time to someone’s life.”

Fill recalls many of the patients she’s treated over the years, but especially one patient who still stops by twice a year to thank her for ‘not giving up on him.’ “I don’t give up on anyone,” she says.

Fill and the rest of the team have big plans in store for the heart failure clinic. When asked about her vision of success she says, “I see a flourishing heart failure clinic reporting great outcomes and happy patients who are benefitting from the care we provide. At the end of the day, it’s about the lives we touch.”

The NCH Atherton Heart Failure Clinic is located at 199 West Rand Road, in Mount Prospect. For more information, call 847-618-2440.

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