Sentara Heart Promise  

Program Leads:
Melissa Connolly, MSN, RN, ACNP-C
Amy Shannon, MSN, RN, FNP-C

Sentara Heart Promise offers a one-of-a-kind support system that provides coordinated care for better health before, during and after heart surgery. Developed at Sentara Heart for coronary artery bypass and valve replacement surgery patients, Sentara Heart Promise provides:

  • Pre-surgical screening
  • Heart team approach to care
  • Patient and family individualized plans of care
  • Post-surgery follow-up care
  • Preventive services and counseling

The program’s centerpiece is a unique, pre-surgery assessment tool administered by nurse practitioners to evaluate a patient’s health prior to surgery. This clinical checklist is designed to identify underlying conditions that could disrupt scheduled surgery or complicate recovery. Since the pilot was created in 2012, the program has eliminated day of surgery cancellations for cardiothoracic surgery patients and has significantly reduced readmission rates.

Other major successes connected to Sentara Heart Promise include:

  • Streamlined, same-day appointments with the Promise team and cardiac surgeons
  • Identification of underlying conditions prior to surgery, preventing complications or surgery delays
  • Collaboration with Endocrinology to provide both pre- and postoperative diabetes care
  • Decreases in postoperative atrial fibrillation, prolonged vent and postoperative renal failure rates
  • Decreased patient length of stay
  • Decreased cancellation rates
  • Heart team approach, individualized risk assessment shared with each patient
  • Deliver medical approaches or other alternative therapies to patients too high-risk for surgery
  • Streamlined pre- and post-surgical education to ensure patients are well-informed about their procedure without overwhelming them with excessive materials
  • Improved outcomes with a postoperative recovery checklist that patients can easily follow during their admission and at home

Sentara Heart Promise is led by advanced practice clinicians who work with our elective, outpatient population and our inpatient preoperative population.Through this program, every surgical patient has a point of contact for the entire surgical timeline: preoperatively, postoperatively and up to 30 to 90 days post discharge.