Becoming a caregiver to someone sick can be intimidating. More so when you have to take care of someone with a condition like heart failure as it has the potential to reduce one’s life expectancy. From managing their diet to taking care of their medication and other daily chores like eating, bathing, and recreation etc., the list can go on. Yes, it might not sound easy, but with the right support and by following caregiving tips, you can easily sail through the tough times and be the support your loved one can depend upon for selfless care and love.
The first steps towards caring for someone with heart failure:
Taking care of someone with heart failure requires a long-term commitment, an immense amount of patience and energy. Heart failure diagnosis can have a big impact not only on the life of the person who suffers from it but also on that of the caregiver. Therefore, as a caregiver, at the heart of your commitment to your loved one should be to first understand about the heart condition the person has been diagnosed with. Doing this will help you determine how much you would be required to alter your respective lifestyles to be able to cope with the situation in the best possible manner.
Here are a few tips and advice that should come handy in helping you help your loved one in making their day-to-day life comfortable, avoid any acute episodes of worsening heart failure, and improve the overall outcome.
Tips on heart patient care:
- Self-care is important: A caregiver’s role is not always filled with challenges. It can be a rewarding experience too. Provided you do not ignore the fact that your own health and wellbeing is equally important. A mentally and physically tired person cannot take care of another sick person. Unmitigated selflessness is a good way of showing you care for someone but ignoring your own needs over that of others will only frustrate you and make you irritable.
- Be alert of changes & symptoms: As a caregiver, you should consider yourself to be an integral part of the patient’s healthcare team. Hence, your primary focus should be on monitoring the daily measurements and health parameters of the patient that might indicate that the heart failure is worsening. If you notice symptoms like sudden weight gain,swelling in lower legs, abdomen or feet, or repeated complaints of difficulty in breathing and fatigue, you should immediately spring in action and report the same to the doctor.
- Changing & maintaining lifestyle:If a loved one has been hospitalized for heart failure, changing their dietary and lifestyle habits as soon as they get back home should be your primary focus. Because there is no definitive cure for most forms of heart failures, doing a significant amount of lifestyle changes can help reduce the burden on the heart muscles as well as aid in treating the underlying conditions that may have contributed to heart failure in the first place. Encourage the patient to start exercising as it can lower blood pressure, help manage weight and reduce stress. But remember, it is never a good idea to ‘push it’ or ‘overdo it’. Eating a healthy diet, avoiding drinking alcohol and quitting smoking are a few other things that would help increase the odds of avoiding hospital readmission.
- Administering medication as prescribed:A crucial part of heart patient care is making sure that the patient does not miss out on their daily dose of medications. Depending on the cause of heart failure and the severity of the patient’s condition, the doctors prescribe a number of medicines which should be taken on time. In case you are finding it hard to keep on track with the medicine schedule, you can use a pill organizer, a mobile reminder or even stick sticky notes in the bedroom, kitchen and bathroom to remind you about the same.
Heart failure is a scary condition but it does not mean that you should feel bogged down by its effects. While your loved one is recovering, providing them with the right kind of physical and emotional support can help them manage their wellness better. Take them for regular check-ups and spend as much time possible with them to boost their morale and make them feel inclusive. To further help them rehabilitate, recover and stay active, you can sort the help of certified and trained physiotherapists. Doing so will not only help improve the quality of life of the patient but also reduce the chances of hospital readmission. To know more about physiotherapy at home services for heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases, call 1800-102-4224.