Congestive Heart Failure Treatments Caregiver

People who care for a person with congestive heart failure might feel overwhelmed at times. In addition to the physical demands, heart failure caregivers must also deal with doctor appointments, health insurance companies and more. In addition, caregivers must also deal with the emotional aspects of their work. Many experience feelings of sadness, guilt or even anger.

While caring for a congestive heart disease patient might seem overwhelming at times, there are a few things you can do to make your job easier. Here are a few tips for caring for a person with heart failure.

Before Your Begin Your Care

Before you begin caring for a person with congestive heart failure, you should make yourself as familiar with the condition as possible. Take the time to research the disease and learn the disease’s symptoms, complications, potential causes and more.

Also, talk to your patient’s health care provider about your patient’s condition. Learn the symptoms from which your patient suffers and the severity of your patient’s heart failure. Having this basic knowledge will make you a better and more informed caregiver.

Before you begin offering care, you should also make up a list of your patient’s needs. While this list should include needs related to heart failure, it should also include needs related to your patient’s everyday life. For example, will you need to do your patient’s grocery shopping or drive him to and from work? Sit down with your patient and talk to him in order to create this list.

General Health Concerns

When caring for a person with congestive heart failure, you will need to be concerned with his general health. If your patient maintains good general health, his heart failure symptoms are likely to be less severe. Here’s a guideline for monitoring basic health issues:

  • Discuss your patient’s symptoms with his doctor at least once a year. This will help you determine if your patient’s heart failure is improving or declining. Also discuss your patient’s medications, diet, exercise habits and more. This will help your doctor accurately assess your patient’s condition.
  • Have your patient see a psychologist at least once a year for evaluation. This can help spot emotional issues that your patient might be unwilling to discuss with you or others.
  • Make sure your patient visits his doctor on a regular basis. The frequency with which your patient will need to see his doctor will be determined by the severity of his condition. Talk with his doctor about appointment scheduling.

Providing Emotional and Moral Support

As a caregiver to a person with heart failure, one of the most important things you can do is to offer emotional and moral support. A person with heart failure often needs to make many lifestyle changes, which can be hard if he must break life-long habits. Here are some tips for supporting your heart failure patient:

  • Accept a Temporary Loss of Physical Intimacy: People with congestive heart failure often must stop or limit sexual activity until their condition is under control. If your patient is your spouse or partner, understand that you might not be able to be as physically intimate as you were prior to his diagnosis.
  • Make it a Joint Effort: If your patient needs to exercise more and eat a healthier diet, offer to do it with him. Exercising and eating right is often easier if you have a partner to motivate you.
  • Suggest Joining a Support Group: Your patient might benefit from joining a support group for people living with heart failure or other heart-related conditions. Ask your doctor if there are any support groups in your area. Another option is to join an online support group.
  • Understand that Change Takes Time: Don’t expect your patient to follow all of the doctor’s orders overnight. It will take a while for him to adopt new habits and erase others. Stay positive and praise any positive changes he makes.

Taking Care of Yourself

In order to provide good care to your patient, you must take care of yourself, both mentally and physically. Take some time each day to do something you enjoy, even if you are only able to close your eyes and relax for 10 minutes. Also, consult a doctor or therapist if you are experiencing any symptoms of depression.

Remember that it’s OK to ask for help. Look into getting an in-home nurse if necessary. Also, ask your patient’s doctor for information on heart failure caregiver support groups.

Resources

American Heart Association (2007). Understanding Your Role as a Caregiver. Retrieved June 22, 2007, from the American Heart Association Web site: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=349.