In observance of February’s Heart Month, Home Care Assistance is raising awareness for heart disease and stroke prevention. Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and is a chief cause of disability. In fact, every 60 seconds a heart-related fatality occurs in America. In Canada, heart disease and stroke are the leading cause of death for women and account for 33% of mortalities overall.
Home Care Assistance is actively working to transform how caregivers help loved ones recover from congestive heart failure and heart attack at home. Statistics show that an alarming 20% of patients discharged from the hospital post heart failure or heart attack are actually readmitted within one month. The majority of readmissions are due to inadequate care and support at home primarily resulting from a lack of information regarding post-hospitalization recovery. Home Care Assistance hopes to change this statistic by providing support and resources to patients and caregivers.
Listed below are 9 caregiver tips for creating the optimal atmosphere for post-hospitalization recovery at home.
1. Promote a Heart-Healthy Diet. When preparing meals for your loved one, make sure to limit fat, cholesterol and sodium. Also speak with your loved one’s doctor to ensure you are informed of any diet restrictions that he/she has prescribed.
2. Lend a Helping Hand. Assist your loved one with activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) in order to avoid overexertion and speed recovery.
3. Monitor Rapid Weight Changes. Although regular fluctuations in weight can occur depending on the patient’s diuretics dosage, be aware of any rapid or dramatic weight changes, as this could be a sign of a worsening heart condition.
4. Implement a Schedule. In order to promote recovery, it’s important to set a schedule for your patient. When creating the schedule consider the following tasks: trips to the bathroom, medications, doctor appointments, exercise, cognitive stimulation activities and rest periods.
5. Monitor Patient Breathing. If your loved one has labored breathing or shortness of breath along with physical weakness, it is important that you see the doctor as this could be a sign of high levels of fluid retention.
6. Stimulate the Mind. Work with your loved one to improve his/her cognitive abilities through cognitive stimulation activities. Activities can include puzzles, skill-based games like chess, conversation, painting, knitting, etc.
7. Reduce Stress. Help to limit your patient’s stress by cultivating a calm and relaxing atmosphere. Dim the lights, play soft music and consider meditation and other calming activities.
8. Encourage Exercise. Promote regular and progressively more challenging exercise. Make sure to work with your loved one’s doctor to develop appropriate exercises.
9. Maintain Interpersonal Relationships. Encourage your loved one to resume social engagements. Suggest lunch dates or community activities.
For additional information on Heart Month and to download our two free patient guides for cardiac rehabilitation and post-stroke care, please visit us at: http://www.homecareassistance.com/heartmonth/