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Diagnosis Specific Programs: CHF

In an effort to improve our services, Compassionate Care is rolling out diagnosis specific programs to better assist our clients. The first of these programs is on Congestive Heart Failure (CHF).

What is CHF?

The Center for Disease Control describes it this way: Heart failure happens when the heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to support other organs in your body. Heart failure is a serious condition, but it does not mean that the heart has stopped beating.

The healthy heart is a very effective pumping mechanism, pumping blood to every part of the body. A healthy heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood every day. In clients with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) the heart struggles to pump enough blood to keep up with the needs of the body. The heart becomes too weak and stiff to pump efficiently. This allows the blood to back up or become congested. If the blood backs up into the lungs, the client will become short of breath. If the blood backs up into the abdomen, legs and feet; the client will have swelling.

Empowering You and Your Loved One

Effective management and monitoring of Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) are vital in preventing client hospitalizations. According to the American Heart Association, CHF is the leading cause of hospitalizations in people over the age of 65 in the United States.

Compassionate Care believes every individual has the right to understand their plan of care, to make choices about supports and services they receive, to live with dignity, and to live as independently as possible.

Compassionate Care supports individuals living with CHF by providing high quality, proactive, result oriented and compassionate care for each client in the comfort of home.

Client Goals:

  • No shortness of breath
  • No increase in swelling
  • No chest pain
  • No change in level of independence
  • No unintended change in weight
  • Avoid unnecessary hospitalization

Plan:

  • Check weight at least twice a week or as ordered by physician
    • Use the same scale every time
    • Place scale on the same floor every time. (A hard surface floor is best)
    • Weigh at the same time of day. (First thing in the morning is best, after voiding and before eating)
    • Record weights
  • Take all medications exactly as prescribed
  • Eat right
    • Follow your physician’s advice
    • General dietary suggestions include:
      • Eating less salt
      • Eat more fruits and vegetables
      • Choose whole grains
      • Choose oily fish (i.e. salmon, trout, herring)
      • Cook with olive oil rather than butter
      • Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy options
      • Choose heart healthy snacks (i.e. walnuts and sunflower seeds)
  • Keep moving
    • Follow your physician’s advice for exercise
    • Consult your physician before starting any exercise plan
    • General activity suggestions include:
      • Aim for 30 minutes a day at least 4 times each week. Note: If 30 minutes is too long, try 10 minutes at a time, three times a day
      • Enjoy a short walk
      • Stand up and stretch several times a day
      • Do some seated exercises several times a day
    • Be careful not to overdo it
    • Stop and rest if you experience shortness of breath or chest pain

Compassionate Care’s Goals

Compassionate Care is implementing these diagnosis specific programs for several reasons:

  1. To empower clients and their families to successfully manage care in the home setting
  2. To educate our office staff to better understand each of these diagnoses and the care needs
  3. To educate our caregivers to better understand each of these diagnoses and the care needs
  4. To promote successful transition back into the community for clients leaving hospital/skilled nursing facility
  5. To help reduce the number of avoidable readmissions to the hospital for our clients

Download the CHF diagnosis program.

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