Long-term Heart Failure Management Strategies
Stay Active, stay healthy
Heart failure is a chronic disease needing lifelong management. Therefore, as a caregiver, you can help your loved one maximize their quality and length of life by closely monitoring him/her and reacting accordingly.
Balance between activity and rest
– Help the patient choose lighter activities, such as walking, shopping, less active hobbies such as sewing, movies, reading, internet surfing, card-playing, etc.)
– Help the patient pace activity and rest during the day, resting frequently to avoid becoming tired
– DO NOT let the patient lift heavy objects or strain to reach things
– Avoid temperature extremes.
– Help the patient stand and sit down slowly to avoid lightheadedness.
– Make sure the patient rests before becoming tired
– Let the patient rest for 15-20 minutes after activity, 1 hour after meals
– When the patient is resting, put his/her feet up to help reduce swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet
– As the patient begins to feel stronger, you may help him or her to lengthen the activity periods and shorten the rest periods
– Start slow: 10 minutes at a time is a great way to get started
– Make a plan: make sure the patient has time to walk
– Walk fast: encourage the patient walk fast enough that he or she cannot sing but is able to talk
– Be a buddy: walk with the patient and help him/her connect with others
– Walk instead of drive: help the patient find a safe route to walk to work, school, the store or other places he or she would normally drive
Stop Activity and Call
Your doctor if the patient’s physical activity brings on any of these symptoms:
– Shortness of breath
– Palpitations or the heart is racing
– Extreme tiredness and fatigue
– Lightheadedness or dizziness
– Sudden weight gain: 2-3 lbs in 24 hours or 3-5 lbs in a week
9.1.1. when the patient complains of persistent chest pain and/or extreme shortness of breath despite stopping activity and taking angina medicine as directed.