Over 5 million adults have been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, lack of exercise, obesity, and smoking increase the risk of this disease. Symptoms include shortness of breath, swelling in the hands, feet, and legs (edema), and shortness of breath.
Your mom’s been diagnosed as having congestive heart failure. She needs to make several lifestyle changes. She will start taking prescription medications, eating a low-sodium diet, getting enough exercise, and keeping track of blood pressure and pulse readings.
Did you know that home health care services can help with many of the things your mom needs to start doing? Here are the services you should discuss with her cardiac team.
Your mom’s dietary patterns have to change. She needs to avoid processed foods, refined flour, sugar, and saturated fat. She needs to choose lean proteins, whole grains, low-fat dairy, skinless poultry and fish, nuts, legumes, and heart-healthy oils like olive oil or avocado oil.
It may seem easy to change your diet, but it can be incredibly challenging when you’ve had the same bad habits for decades. Ask about having a dietitian come to your mom’s home to teach her and family caregivers how to make healthier food choices and what foods she should focus on for her meals and snacks.
When you have shortness of breath, exercising may seem impossible. Have your mom work with a physical therapist in her home. She can stay where she’s comfortable and learn the exercises that her doctor recommends.
How often the physical therapist comes to the home may vary. Your mom may have one visit a week and need to be encouraged to keep going the rest of the week. Consider adding senior care services to the home health care services to ensure she doesn’t skip days.
Recording Vital Signs
Your mom needs to keep a log of her blood pressure and pulse. Her doctor may also recommend having her oxygen saturation levels checked each day. If that happens, it helps to have a home health care nurse take the readings and report them to the doctor.
There are digital blood pressure cuffs, but the best way to ensure accuracy is by having a professional do it. Nurses can stop by each day, take the readings, check your mom’s health, and leave again. It’s less stressful than making the regular trip to the doctor’s office.
Call a home health care nurse to arrange these and other services. Your mom needs a strong support team after a congestive heart failure diagnosis. Make home health care nurses part of that team.