Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a significant end-of-life condition that requires unique assistance and support. Through the Take Heart Program, Hospice of Holland provides patients and families with compassionate and expert care that addresses CHF symptoms. Hospice of Holland can also assist in managing symptoms such as sleeplessness, anxiety and depression that commonly develop as a result of Congestive Heart Failure (CHF).
What Is Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)?
Congestion Heart Failure is a term used to describe a condition in which the heart is “failing” to meet the body’s need for fresh, oxygen-rich blood. As the muscles of the heart weaken, blood tends to “back-up” either into the vessels of the lungs, or the vessels returning blood from the rest of the body. This causes congestion in the lungs, or swelling in the abdomen, or legs.
If you answer yes to more than one of the following questions, now may be the appropriate time for you to discuss with your physician a referral to Hospice of Holland.
- Are heart medications no longer helping to manage your symptoms?
- Are you noticing that the symptoms are occurring even at rest?
- Is shortness of breath or pain so severe that you can no longer do what you want and need to do?
- Are hospitalizations becoming more frequent?
- Are there other existing medical conditions such as lung disease, dementia or kidney dysfunction?
- Has your physician told you that procedures or surgeries are not an option?
- Are you and your loved ones seeking comfort care to improve quality of life?
Take Heart Program
Our team will coordinate appropriate medication management and can also determine which medical equipment may be needed. Most cardiac and symptom management medications related to your diagnosis, as well as assistive equipment, are covered under the Hospice Medicare Benefit and they will be delivered to your home. Hospice nurses consult with physicians and pharmacists who specialize in the types of medicine needed to ensure your quality of life is optimum.
Our nurses work with a team to customize your care according to your needs. The hospice certified nursing assistant can help with personal care when needed; our social workers and chaplains meet with you to provide supportive emotional and spiritual care for both the patient and the family.
Hospice of Holland also has volunteers who are part of this caring team who come together to give you and your family and improved quality of living. We currently have over 200 volunteers, and many of them come to us because they have had a loved one receive our services. These devoted people respond to special requests and look to see where they can be of most assistance.
What Will Be Done Now That I Am In Hospice Care?
In hospice care, much of the disease management will be similar to what has been done before. We will work with your doctor(s) and communicate with him/her about how you are doing. We are likely to continue most or all of your heart medicines as these are helping your heart function and thus keeping you more comfortable, which is our goal. We may also add medicines to increase your comfort.
When Should I Call My Hospice Nurse?
- If you gain weight quickly – 2-3 pounds in 1 day or 5 pounds in 5 days. Weight gain this rapid is a sign of fluid build up.
- If you notice more than your usual amount of swelling in the feet, legs, or abdomen.
- If you are having more difficulty breathing with activity or new difficulty breathing at rest.
- If you have increased coughing.
- If you are waking at night unable to breathe, or are unable to lie down without having difficulty breathing.
- If you have chest pain that lasts more than 15 minutes.
- Anytime you have symptoms that don’t improve with your usual medications, are new, or are worrisome to you.