Do you know what a normal heart sounds like? It sounds a bit like lub, dub, lub, dub. But when a normal heart veers off course, especially with congestive heart failure (CHF), the sound can be quite different.
What is CHF?
CHF is an illness that cannot be cured. The pumping action of the heart is inadequate, causing blood to back up into the lungs. This makes it difficult to breathe (left-sided heart failure). Blood also backs up into the veins, causing swollen legs and feet (right-sided heart failure).
CHF statistics are startling. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 5.7 million Americans are currently living with CHF, and approximately half a million new diagnoses are made every year. CHF is the primary diagnosis in 875,000 hospitalizations and most common in patients who are 65 years or older. In addition, it is responsible for 11 million visits to physicians each year. Emory University reports that congestive heart failure occurs in men and women equally, and the prevalence is higher in African-Americans, Hispanics and American Indians than in Caucasians. And the America Heart Association claims that 9 percent of deaths can be attributed to CHF every year.
Although the disease does not have a cure and the statistics above are disturbing, CHF can be managed and symptoms controlled. With careful management, complications can be decreased, and patients can avoid returns to the hospital.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of CHF?
At one time or another, someone with CHF can experience any of the following signs and symptoms:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Waking up gasping for breath
- Shortness of breath when lying down
- Shortness of breath with any activity
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling of feet and legs
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Persistent dry, hacking cough
- Decrease alertness or having trouble concentrating
At Home with CHF Home Health Program
At Chapters Health System, we recognize the unique needs of patients with a chronic illness such as CHF. Our At Home with CHF home health program was specifically developed to meet those needs and help patients decrease unwanted hospitalizations.
Our At Home with CHF home health program includes the following for patients diagnosed with CHF:
- Initial and ongoing education is provided to patients and families to assist in controlling the symptoms of CHF.
- Patients receive a weight form and scale to record their weight. In addition, check-in calls are made to find out if patients have gained weight or had any change in symptoms.
- Patients also receive a color-coded tool that helps them “grade” their symptoms so they know what a good day looks like versus when they need to be cautious home health for help.
- Patients have 24/7/365 access to the home health nursing hotline for immediate help with any change in their CHF symptoms, such as difficulty performing daily activities; increased shortness of breath; tightness in the chest; swelling of the feet, ankles or abdomen; and a rapid weight gain in one day of 3 pounds.
In addition, our home health nurses are equipped to anticipate the needs and symptoms of CHF patients.
Please call today for more information on how our At Home with CHF home health program can help you or a loved one with congestive heart failure.
Find out more about how HPH Home Health and Achieve Home Care help patients heal and thrive in the comfort of their own homes — whether that’s a private residence or assisted living facility. For additional information, please call our helpful home health team at 1.888.508.5631 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.