There are many misconceptions when it comes to heart disease. Many people mistakenly believe that heart disease means a quick death. This is somewhat surprising since it is a fairly common ailment. Moreover, they think that most people suffer a major cardiac event precipitating a rapid death, usually with no preliminary symptoms. Even with recent medical advances, heart disease remains the number one killer around the world. Honestly, many survive heart attacks and live with heart disease. Recovery is possible, but it can take time. The question for seniors in Bay Ridge is when is it time to seek palliative care.
Heart Disease Can Be Gradual
In reality, heart disease is a slow killer and is the result of the heart gradually weakening and failing. Concurrently, the sufferer undergoes a gradual weakening of the body. They may experience an inability to breath. Also, movement becomes difficult and the legs and extremities begin to swell. Finally, the person feels an overwhelming fatigue. Death by heart disease can take weeks, months or even years. During that time period, the patient often endures debilitating discomfort and suffering. Furthermore, at its end stages, it is often beneficial to seek palliative care.
What Is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is a multi-disciplinary approach to administering to the terminally or chronically ill. Medications, day-to-day care, equipment, bereavement counseling, and symptom treatment are administered through a single channel. It is most commonly administered in an institutional setting such as a hospice or nursing home. However, there are situations where it can be done from home.
Homecare Is Often Preferred
More and more heart disease patients are opting for ending their lives in the comfortable surroundings of their home. Many of the elderly are adamant about homecare since they are often too frail to be moved successfully. Palliative care providers are able to focus specifically on providing relief and reducing the stress involved with heart disease. Furthermore, palliative care means that a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists monitor care. Moreover, this team fully understands how to treat the specific symptoms of heart disease and can help improve the overall quality of life.
Difficulty in Providing Palliative Care
Patients suffering from end-stage heart disease rarely receive adequate, high-quality end-of-life care. This is due to the fact that there is really no way to predict exactly when the end will come. Physicians often cannot estimate how long a patient will suffer from heart disease. Furthermore, they have no way of predicting exactly when a cardiac event or complications from the disease will ultimately take their life.
More than other diseases, physicians have trouble discussing palliative care with cardiac patients. This may be due to a number of factors. As mentioned, there is the lack of predictive measures for event occurrence. Second, there is the optimism of both the patient and the doctor that they have more time left than is really the case. As such, there is a general discomfort by the physicians with respect to talking to them about end-of-life issues for fear of being too negative. Consequently, the sufferer often puts off end-stage planning and seeking needed palliative care because their physician has never discussed the situation openly and honestly.
Seeking Palliative vs. Hospice Care
Many people confuse the palliative and hospice care. While both focus on making the patient as comfortable and pain free as possible, there are several important differences. Patients and their loved ones need to know that palliative care can provide a much-needed additional layer of support to those with heart disease, but is quite different than hospice care. They also need to know that patients can receive palliative care at any time and at any stage of illness whether it be terminal or not and can include life saving treatment. On the other hand, hospice care is only for the terminally ill at the end of life and treatment is limited to making the patient comfortable.
Here is an important video from the National Institute on Aging explaining the differences.
If you or a loved one suffers from heart disease, don’t wait until it is too late to seek palliative care. At the David York Agency, we are dedicated to providing the resources, advice, and high-quality home health aide services that can make living with heart disease more manageable.
David York Agency Home Healthcare Helps Seniors in Bay Ridge
At David York Home Healthcare Agency, extraordinary service is what sets us apart from other companies in Bay Ridge that provide in home health care services. At DYA, we could provide direction as to how to manage the total care of your senior loved one. Whatever your care needs, we are there for you, always striving to exceed your expectations. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at (718) 376-7755. A free phone consultation can help you determine what services would meet your needs. We aim to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.