Stay Healthy

Heart to Heart

Melody Barton, RN, provides one-on-one support to help heart patients thrive

On Thanksgiving, Cardiac Nurse Coordinator Melody Barton, RN, got a call from one of her patients. The man, in his 80s, wanted to tell her that he was grateful. Thanks to her help, he could properly manage his congestive heart failure (CHF) and enjoy life again. He even had a new girlfriend.

To help patients with CHF understand their diagnosis and live better with this condition, UHS provides free, one-on-one patient education and counseling by Ms. Barton, who is specially trained and has ten years of experience in inpatient and outpatient medical settings.

She meets with patients and their families at hospital discharge, and visits them at home if requested. “Some newly diagnosed patients think that heart failure is a death sentence,” says Ms. Barton. “I help reassure them that it’s not — that they can live with it if their symptoms are managed properly. While this condition won’t go away, we can keep it from getting worse.”

Ms. Barton also helps coordinate and schedule tests and services and refer patients to support services, including cardiac rehabilitation, educational programs, support groups and smoking cessation courses as needed. And she serves as a key point of contact with referring physicians.

“The job of nurse coordinator is so rewarding,” Ms. Barton says. “I get to see significant changes in people who want to make a difference in their health. It’s great to know that I could help them on their journey.”