What is Congestive Heart Failure?
When you have CHF, your heart is weakened, resulting in a backup of blood in the heart. This forces the fluid in the blood into the lungs, causing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Fluid can also back up into feet, ankles or abdomen, causing swelling (edema) of those areas.
FACT: Congestive heart failure (CHF) affects nearly five million Americans, and is one of the most common reasons for hospitalization.
FACT: “Heart failure” doesn’t mean that your heart has stopped, it means your heart’s not pumping as much blood as your body needs.
FACT: Understanding CHF and learning how to manage this condition can greatly improve your quality of life and help prevent unnecessary trips to the hospital.
Diagnosing Heart Failure
To determine if your symptoms are caused by CHF, you can expect your physician to collect a thorough health history and a complete physical assessment. A chest x-ray, EKG and blood tests are usually done, and sometimes a cardiac catheterization. One blood test, called a BNP, measures a protein hormone which dilates blood vessels and helps the kidney eliminate salt and water. The BNP is elevated when a person develops heart failure.
Many people with congestive heart failure live active, normal lives. The key is for you to take control by learning about and understanding your disease and your treatment plan, including:
• Self-care and symptom management
• Good nutrition and hydration
• Medication management
• Activity and exercise
• Managing feelings
• Telehealth options
How Can Village Home Health Telehealth Help?
Health can change quickly at any time, sometimes leading to a loss of independence, hospitalization, or a stay at a nursing home. That’s why daily monitoring is important – it can help you, your Village Home Health care team, and your physician to spot even slight changes quickly and prevent the situation from escalating into something serious.
Village Home Health’s telehealth monitoring system transmits your vital signs every day over your telephone lines. It is reviewed regularly by Village Home Health nursing staff while you remain in the comfort of your home. Vital information collected includes weight, pulse, blood pressure, and blood oxygen levels.
Caring for the Caregiver
Learning to manage CHF takes a team approach that often involves a family member providing help. Without their hard work, many patients would not be able to live at home.
But caregivers can become overwhelmed – both physically and emotionally – with the daily and long-term problems of caring for a loved one. The telehealth service can be a huge help in reducing stress by knowing that medical professionals are keeping a close eye on your health.
Another option is using a private duty or companion service, like Village Helpers In-Home Care, if a family caregiver feels exhausted, isolated, or frustrated that they have no time for rest or exercise – or fun. Village Helpers provides in-home non-medical care, including respite care, cleaning, cooking, shopping and transportation, for those times when a caregiver needs a few hours, or a few days, away.
FACT: Both Village Home Health and Village Helpers In-Home Care visit patients across the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Village Helpers In-Home Care:
For information about what they can do to assist you or a loved one, please call 816-524-2676.
Village Home Health:
To learn more about the compassionate care we can provide in 12 Kansas and Missouri counties, please call