Congestive Heart Failure
Hospice of Huntington has a special program for hospice patients with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). Congestive Heart Failure occurs when your heart does not pump blood well enough to supply your body with enough oxygen and nutrients it needs.
Two types of heart failure are right side failure and left side failure. When the left side of your heart does not pump blood properly, blood backs up into your lungs causing pulmonary edema or a buildup of fluids in your lungs. This can cause severe shortness of breath that can have a gradual or sudden onset. Right side failure causes fluid to back up in the veins and capillaries in your body. This backup can cause pressure on the capillaries and fluid seeps out into the tissue causing swelling and even “weeping” of tissue, especially in the legs and feet. You can experience both types of heart failure at the same time.
Heart failure can also be caused by a heart attack that severely damages the heart muscle causing chest pain, weakness and shortness of breath. These symptoms can be managed in the comfort of your own home.
Hospice patients with CHF lived 81 days longer than patients with CHF who did not have hospice care according to a study sponsored by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and reported in the March 2007 edition of the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.
Hospice of Huntington’s “Love Your Heart” program helps hospice patients:
- Avoid repeated ER visits and hospitalizations
- Reduce shortness of breath
- Manage increasing weakness and fatigue
- Reduce swelling in feet and ankles
- Reduce anxiety
- Reduce pain or angina
- Feel more confident in managing your symptoms
The “Love Your Heart” program provides hospice patients with:
- Weekly nurse visits
- Individualized advanced symptom management and monitoring
- Family education and caregiver support
- Help available day or night when you are in a crisis
- Emergency kits for quick symptom relief
- Complete hospice services
When is Hospice of Huntington’s “Love Your Heart” program right for you?
If a hospice patient experiences two or more of the following, now is the time to call Hospice of Huntington.
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea) when you exert yourself or when you lie down
- Persistent cough or wheezing with white or pink blood-tinged phlegm
- Swelling of your abdomen (ascites)
- Swelling (edema) in your legs, ankles and feet
- You have been optimally treated for heart disease and are not a candidate for a surgical procedure
- Need assistance with bathing and dressing and activities of daily living
- Difficulty concentrating or decreased alertness
- Chest pain, if your heart failure is caused by a heart attack
- An ejection fraction of equal to or less than 20%