Congestive heart failure (CHF) is often referred to as the “silent epidemic” since many people have this illness but have not been diagnosed. Approximately 5 million Americans have congestive heart failure, which means one person in every five people will develop this disease after the age of 40. This chronic condition leads to frequent hospitalizations. The prognosis is not good for this condition, but there are many people who live beyond the normally expected time due to their active role in the management of the disease. Home health care companions assist patients in maintaining this active role.
Today, many people are also being cared for through home health care. Home care companions are well trained medical staff that assists the patient in taking an active role in their care. In addition, they will also teach family members about CHF. Proper care is essential to controlling symptoms of the disease and a patient’s longevity.
Typically the cause of CHF is damage from a heart attack, high blood pressure, heart damage due to infections, lung disease or heart valve disease. The symptoms of congestive heart disease include:
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of feet, ankles and the abdomen
- Dyspnea and a chronic cough
- Severe fatigue
Home care companions educate the patient about their disease and the best way to control the symptoms. They will make sure the patient is weighed daily as a sudden increase in weight may indicate fluid retention. Lifestyle choices that impact this disease will also be taught to the patient. These include obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, alcohol abuse, sedentary lifestyle and stress. Maintaining a normal weight with exercise is encouraged as is reducing their salt intake. Adequate rest is also important. Relaxation techniques can also be taught to reduce stress.
A quality home care companion can help the patient meet those special challenges that can be so difficult, especially for those patients who do not have a family member to provide care. They will supervise the overall care and provide assistance with the activities of daily living as necessary. They can also run errands, take the patient to their doctor and help with their medications.
Clinical research has proven that home health companion visits following discharge from the hospital can improve the symptoms of CHF and also reduce further hospitalizations. They educate the patient about their chronic condition and the life style changes that will extend their lives.
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