Caring for Congestive Heart Failure at Home

Patients with congestive heart failure are typically over the age of 65 and functionally disabled. They and their family caregivers can be overwhelmed by addressing the activities of daily living and the tasks of managing CHF effectively at home. Home caregiving services can help alleviate some of the burden of care and support effective disease management.
Some key facts about CHF:
  • 22% of men and 46% of woman are disabled with CHF within two years of a heart attack; most are over the age of 60.1
  • 42% of people with CHF have difficulty walking across a room, 35% have trouble with grocery shopping, and 36% experience urinary incontinence. 1

The following are some findings from studies on congestive heart failure-and what can help:

  • Up to 50% of patients with congestive heart failure are noncompliant with discharge instructions from a previous admission.2
  • Home exercise programs increase exercise tolerance and quality of life for patients with congestive heart failure.3
  • Telemonitoring for elderly patients with congestive heart failure is associated with numerous positive impacts, such as reduced mortality and readmissions and increased adherence to medication regimens.4
  • Functional difficulties make it very challenging for patients with CHF and their caregivers to attend to daily needs, as well as adhere to a treatment plan.
  • Home caregiver services can assist with activities of daily living, such as shopping, bathing, dressing, and meal preparation.
  • A home caregiver can help patients and their family caregivers complete activities such as daily weights, transmitting data for telemonitoring, remembering to  take prescribed medications, and completing prescribed exercise programs.
  • Home caregivers are monitored by a registered nurse, ensuring that services adapt to a patient’s changing needs.

Points to remember

  • Home care for patients with CHF is challenging.
  • In addition to the daily tasks of managing disease, patients with CHF often have significant functional disabilities.
  • A phone call to a home care agency is the first step to better care for older adults with CHF.

    Article excerpt by: Melanie Stover, VP

    Home Care Sales by Powrshot Training, Inc.

1. Gure TR et al. Degree of disability and patterns of caregiving among older Americans with congestive heart failure. J Gen Intern Med 2008;23:70-6.2.  Stewart S, Vandenbroek AJ, Pearson S, Horowitz JD. Prolonged beneficial effects of a home-based intervention on unplanned readmissions and mortality among patients with congestive heart failure. Arch Intern Med 1999;159(3):257-61.3. Jonsdottir S, Andersen KK, Sigurosson AF, Sigurosson SB. The effect of physical training in chronic heart failure. Eur J Heart Fail. Jan 2006;8(1):97-101.4. Antonicelli R et al. Impact of telemonitoring at home on the management of elderly patients with congestive heart failure. J Telemed Telecare. 2008;14(6):300-305.