Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) affects almost 5 million Americans, many of whom are seniors. CHF means the heart is unable to pump effectively to deliver blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the body. You may be wondering how non-medical care can help a patient with CHF. There are many benefits, but these seven top the list.
1. Early Recognition of Warning Signs
The initial symptoms of CHF often go unnoticed, especially if the primary caregiver doesn’t know what to look for. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to call the doctor immediately.
- Sudden weight gain (3 pounds or more in 1 or 2 days)
- Increased swelling in legs or ankles
- Shortness of breath while at rest
- Dizziness or fainting
- Dry, hacking cough or wheezing
- Increased fatigue or feeling unwell all the time
- Abdominal pain or swelling
2. Assistance Maintaining a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet can help offset the health issues related to CHF. Caregivers can ensure a patient maintains a healthy and complete diet by implementing these tips:
- Decrease sodium intake, and read food labels for items with less than 350 mg sodium per serving.
- Cook with less salt.
- Increase intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Cook with fresh meat, legumes, and eggs, and avoid highly processed foods.
- Season with herbs, spices, flavored vinegar, and fruit juices.
3. Keeping the Patient Physically Active
Physical activity is another important way to combat CHF. Caregivers should follow these tips to help patients stay physically active, despite their condition:
- Encourage low to moderate exercise.
- Perform activities in short intervals, especially if your patient is easily fatigued.
- Take short walks to get the blood moving.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Park at the edges of the parking lot when going to the store.
- Perform light housework together.
4. Ensuring the Patient is Comfortable
CHF can bring with it some fairly uncomfortable side effects. A caregiver can ensure that the patient stays as comfortable as possible by:
- Helping them find and wear comfortable clothes and shoes
- Helping them select and wear support stockings
- Providing pillows to elevate head, making it easier to breathe
5. Administration of Medications and Supplements
There are many medications and supplements that can help relieve the symptoms of CHF — but only if they’re taken regularly. A caregiver can help ensure they’re being taken at the appropriate time by:
- Reminding the patient to take their medication on time
- Establishing a schedule
- Helping them organize a weekly pillbox
- Keeping a record of medication intake and any side effects
6. Make the Most of Doctor Visits
Doctor visits are an important time to communicate changes in a patient’s condition and address possible issues. Caregivers can help in these ways:
- Keeping records and going over them at the doctor appointment
- Scheduling appointments
- Providing transportation to and from doctor visits
- Asking questions and taking notes
7. Daily Record Keeping
The symptoms of CHF can change from day to day, and it’s important to keep careful records to track how the patient’s health looks over the long-term. Consider all of these things:
- How is the patient breathing?
- What dedications (names, doses, times, any side effects) are they currently taking?
- How is their diet and level of activity?
- Are there any notable or unusual symptoms?
If your senior loved one suffers from CHF or other severe heart problems, they may benefit from the added care and expertise of an in-home healthcare provider. There are many advantages of having a knowledgeable caregiver who can ensure a patient’s health and safety, as well as their medical requirements, are kept in mind at all times.
At David York Agency, we offer home healthcare services from highly trained and vetted professionals you can trust. From home health aides to RN’s and LPNs, DYA can provide your family with a level of in-home healthcare that meets your needs.
For more information about our qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need.