As a carer you play a very important role in the life of the heart patient. Whether you are a significant other, family, friend, or carer, it is important for you to understand the condition and its impact on the life of the person living with heart failure.
Heart failure is a complex clinical syndrome, which can have significant impact on the patient, both emotionally and with regards to a reduction in physical functionality. As the disease has a huge impact on one’s health and mood, it requires changes often in terms of diet, medication and/or both.
It can be challenging, worrisome and tiring with the responsibility of taking care of the patient. One may feel a range of emotions including shock, fear and worry when someone close is diagnosed. One of the easiest ways to relieve these feeling is to have information about the disease.
Below are the few Do’s and Don’ts to keep track and make it easy for you, to manage your patient
- Ask specific questions to the medical team including medications, where to find help, when to call the ambulance and most important to understand if signs and symptoms become serious.
- Take care of yourself: It is important to take time out for yourself, whether exercising, eating meals and of course taking a good 8 hours of sleep
- Reach out for help: If you are struggling to cope with your responsibilities as a carer, don’t be afraid to reach out to others and ask for help. The first step is to discuss your feelings with someone who can help, such as a friend, counsellor or support group.
- Understand the heart issue: It is extremely important to understand the patient’s heart issue, familiarise yourself with common signs and symptoms of a heart attack - as well as Basic Life Support guidelines
- Hide your feelings: As a carer we often ignore how we are feeling and in the process of taking care and supporting our loved one, we do not talk about what we are going through. Don’t do that! Speak with someone or join a support group of like-minded people.
- Be overprotective: Sometimes, you can feel overprotective. Try and encourage the person you are caring for to be independent and understand their own limitations.
- Wait for support: Seek support whether financial through assistance or emotional support via groups, counselling. Many people with heart conditions – and their carers – can benefit from meeting other people who have had similar experiences.
Heart Support Australia holds regular meetings with its members, including:
- sessions where you can talk about your own experience with other heart patients and their carers
- exercise classes
- talks by guest speakers.
Join us today, it’s easy and FREE!