At the Philadelphia Adult Congenital Heart Center, patients and their physicians get the support of a comprehensive team that spans two world-renowned institutions: surgeons, cardiologists and two experienced nurse practitioners (NPs) from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Penn Medicine.
The NPs, David Drajpuch, MSN, CRNP, and Lynda Tobin, MSN, CRNP, specialize in caring for adult congenital patients, and their vast experience makes them an invaluable resource for patients and referring physicians alike. They field calls and requests quickly and efficiently, working closely with the center’s physicians to evaluate patients, facilitate referrals and answer questions.
"Because we specialize in adult congenital heart disease,” says Tobin, “we know what to look for, what to anticipate, and where to guide patients and providers.”
Close collaboration between physicians and NPs is a hallmark of the Philadelphia Adult Congenital Heart Center, which focuses on making care as seamless as possible. Drajpuch and Tobin are in constant contact with surgeon Stephanie Fuller, MD, and medical director Yuli Kim, MD, discussing cases and developing treatment plans. The medical and surgical aspects of the program are fully integrated at all levels, which, says Drajpuch, is one of the things that truly sets the program apart: “There’s a continuity of care between the medical and surgical services that I think a lot of programs aren’t able to provide.”
To further streamline care, Tobin and Drajpuch see patients in a new twice-weekly nurse practitioner clinic the center established to help expand access to the program, and they see both medical and surgical patients when they are admitted to the Hospital. It’s patient-centered care at its finest — and that’s what the Philadelphia Adult Congenital Heart Center is all about. “Patients are always talking to someone who’s familiar with their case,” says Drajpuch. “Someone who knows them.”
The best of both worlds
The CHOP-Penn partnership offers more options for inpatient care. Patients of the Philadelphia Adult Congenital Heart Center can be admitted to either CHOP or the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), an arrangement that allows the program to customize care to each patient’s unique needs.
Patients with more complex types of CHD who require access to therapies unique to CHOP can be cared for there, while patients over 40 or those who have significant co-morbidities — diabetes or kidney disease, for instance — may be admitted to HUP, which has a full spectrum of specialists with vast experience managing these conditions in adult patients.
It’s one more example of how CHOP and Penn, working together, are able to provide the very best care for adults with congenital heart disease. “We have the best of both worlds,” says Kim.