When the heart develops problems and is no longer able to pump your blood in a proper manner, it is called congestive heart failure (CHF). Breathing problems, weakness, and swollen ankles may also be associated with this problem.
Congestive Heart Failure and What Palliative Care Can Do
Specialized care is often given to help people with this kind of condition. Called palliative care, its purpose is to provide the patient and family with a better quality of life. This care can be given to anyone regardless of age or of the stage of the illness, and it can be given along with treatment to cure the illness.
Along with your own doctors, palliative care is provided by a team of people including doctors and nurses, social workers, and other specialists. Giving you another layer of support, the palliative care team will work closely with your heart specialist (cardiologist), and others.
The Palliative Care Team
The palliative care teams will help you by prescribing pain medications, as well as other ones needed for your symptoms. They will also use a wide variety of techniques to treat congestive heart failure without using drugs. Their expertise will also help with lymphatic drainage, which will reduce swelling of the legs and pain from it.
The team will also provide you with valuable instruction to improve your comfort in breathing, such as how to sit, stand, and lie down. You will also learn methods on how to relax, use fans, meditate, and use breathing exercises to reduce panic or anxiety that may come from feelings that might arise from breathing difficulties.
Our palliative care teams are there to provide comfort and guidance through the pain caused by congestive heart failure. Because health care systems can be difficult to get around, our team is there to ensure that you and your loved ones stay informed and in control of the care and treatments.
Care and Support
The team will also discuss what CHF means to you and your family. They will provide the family with realistic expectations and give them a good understanding of what is involved and of where it could lead. The patient’s health certainly could take a turn for the worse at some point, and the results could be unpredictable. Planning for this possibility should be made in advance.
The patient and family will be asked by the team for guidance in the care to be delivered. You will need to make clear your values and issues you may have regarding the treatment. The palliative care team will work with you to enable you have the best quality of life possible as you live with CHF.
How to Get Palliative Care for CHF
When palliative care is needed for yourself or for a loved one, your doctor can give you a referral. You can also find a hospital in your area.
If you need information about congestive heart failure for patients or caregivers, you can learn more at our organization. You can learn about warning signs, research treatments, and get tips for improving your health. Just as important, you can connect with other people who are either living with CHF, or has been a caregiver for someone with it. By visiting our organization, you can get the help you need.