By: Victor Montour
Congestive Heart Failure and Palliative Care
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic condition in which the heart is unable to pump your blood properly. It can cause breathing problems and other symptoms, such as weakness, shortness of breath and swollen feet and ankles.
How Palliative Care Can Help
Palliative care is specialized medical care for people facing serious illnesses like CHF. The goal is to improve quality of life for both you and your family to create the best day possible. You can receive palliative care at any age and at any stage of your illness. You can also have it together with curative treatment, rehab or home health. Front Range Hospice and Palliative care provides palliative services with the use of a team that consists of a Doctor, Nurse Practitioner, Social Worker and a Chaplin who work together with your other doctors to give you an extra layer of support.
Our Palliative Care team works in close partnership with your cardiologist (heart specialist) and other specialists. In addition to prescribing medications for your pain and other symptoms, team members have a wide variety of approaches to treating congestive heart failure that do not involve drugs. For example, palliative care teams are expertly trained to perform highly effective lymphatic drainage, a technique for reducing leg swelling and its associated pain. They’ll educate you about how to stand, sit and lie down to improve your breathing comfort. They’ll also train you in the use of fans, relaxation methods, meditation and breathing exercises to decrease any anxiety or panic that may accompany feelings of breathlessness.
Palliative care is also there to guide you and your loved ones through the distress caused by CHF. The team will help you navigate the complex health care system and keep you and your family informed, up to date and in control. Because episodes can become worse, sudden and unpredictable, palliative care specialists can help you plan in advance for the next time it happens. In fact, one of the most important things your palliative care team can do is to help you fully discuss your health situation with your family.
Understanding that every patient and every family is different, the team uses its communications expertise to work with you, one-to-one, to help you develop a realistic idea of what congestive heart failure is, how it works, where it might lead and what it means, specifically, to you. Our team can help you and your family clarify your personal goals for care and guide you in expressing your values and concerns. In the end, the team’s most important goal is to help you and your family achieve the best possible quality of life as you live with CHF.
If you or a loved one is living with CHF and would like more information about Palliative Care, please call 303-957-3101 or 970-776-8080 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org