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cardiac rehabilitation and post-stroke care

home care assistance cardia rehabilitation bookhome care assistance post stroke care book

Home Care Assistance is raising awareness around heart disease and stroke prevention in observance of heart month. Heart Disease is a leading cause of death and a major cause of disability. In fact, there is a heart-related fatality in America every minute. In Canada, heart disease and stroke are the leading cause of death for women and account for 33% of mortalities overall.

Approximately 20% of patients who are discharged from a hospital following congestive heart failure or heart attack are readmitted within 30 days. Many of these readmissions are caused by insufficient support in the home and a lack of information about post-hospitalization recovery. By providing patients with the resources they need to make appropriate care decisions, Home Care Assistance is changing how families across North America help their loved ones recover at home.

For more information about cardiac rehabilitation or the post-hospitalization discharge process, please visit

Symptoms of Cardiovascular Issues
Symptoms of heart failure often begin slowly and may include:


weakness, faintness

Loss of appetite

Increased need to urinate at night

Swollen liver or abdomen, feet and ankles

Weight gain

Shortness of breath when active or lying down

Heart palpitations or irregular or fast pulse

A heart attack (myocardial infarction) occurs when blood flow to part of the heart is blocked for some time, thereby resulting in damage or death of the heart muscle.

Symptoms may include:

Chest pain that lasts longer than 20 minutes (may feel like tight band around the chest, bad indigestion or like there is something heavy sitting on chest)

Pain that moves from chest to arms, shoulder, neck, teeth, jaw, belly or back

Dizziness, fainting

Shortness of breath, cough

Nausea or vomiting

Heart palpitations



Caregiver Tips
• Prepare heart-healthy meals. Limit fat, cholesterol and sodium. Discuss with your client’s doctor what types of foods may be off limits if your client is prescribed a fluid restricted diet.

Avoid overexertion. Assist with ADLs and IADLs to reduce fatigue and preserve energy levels, especially in initial weeks after discharge. Avoid using stairwells if possible.
Interested in learning more about heart health? Listen to the below webinar featuring Drs. Marc Gillinov and Steven Nissen. Drs. Nissen and Gillinov authored the book Heart 411-The Only Guide to Heart Health You’ll Ever Need, described as the definitive guide to heart health from two of America’s most respected doctors at the Cleveland Clinic, the leading hospital for heart health in America.
home care assistance post stroke care book

Download the Webinar


• Watch weight. Regular fluctuations in weight are normal depending on your client’s diuretics dosage. Be alert if weight is changing more rapidly than expected—retention of fluids may signal that heart condition is worsening.

Set a schedule. Be sure to include time in the daily routine for more frequent trips to the bathroom if your client is taking diuretics. Ensure client takes required medications and attends follow-up appointments. Include time for resting throughout the day.

Daily exercise. Encourage regular and progressively more difficult exercise. Work with client’s doctors to identify when it’s appropriate to move from light to moderate cardio.

Monitor breathing. If your client has trouble breathing or shortness of breath in addition to physical weakness, he/she may have a high level of retained fluids. Go to the doctor.

Encourage mental stimulation. Engage client in activities to maintain and increase cognitive abilities.

       Puzzles (crossword, Sudoku, jigsaw puzzles)

       Skilled bases games (checkers, chess, Scrabble)

       Conversation (history, genealogy, current events)

       Pattern-following crafts (needlepoint, knitting)

       Creative Arts (painting, drawing, flower arranging)

Manage stress. Help reduce stress by creating a calm atmosphere and engaging in calming activities. Turn off bright overhead lights, play soft music, and allow for quiet
moments. Other calming activities may include: meditation, prayer, spending time in nature, admiring art/photography.

Foster social ties. Encourage clients to continue current social engagements and find ways to increase relationships with others. Offer to pick up friends and take to lunch or host a tea at the client’s home. Go to a lecture at a local senior center.