If you are having difficulty coping with your feelings, you
should not feel ashamed or embarrassed about seeking advice and counseling from
appropriate sources, such as other family members, trained mental health
professionals, or religious advisers. Look for peer groups. You may be able to
find support groups for people with caregiving responsibilities. Talking to
other people who are in similar situations may be a valuable way for you to
share your concerns and also to gather information.
When should I seek outside help?
some families cannot assume care for a loved one with severe heart failure
without enlisting outside help. Economic stresses may be overwhelming and, if
all the family members are at work, adequate at-home supervision and care for
the patient may not be possible. Additionally, some people with heart failure
require more care than their family can be reasonably expected to provide. In
these cases, you may consider placing your loved one in a long-term care
The available long-term care options depend on an
individual's level of independence and need for nursing supervision. Some
people will still be able to perform basic activities on their own but may need
assistance preparing meals and sorting medications. Such individuals may be
well cared for in a supervised living facility where food is provided and staff
is available to assist them if needed, but routine nursing care is not
Other people with end-stage heart failure may have
difficulty performing basic activities and may be better served in a nursing
home where the staff can assist them with eating and bathing. In these more
closely monitored settings, nurses can track your loved one's heart failure
symptoms and ensure that he or she takes medications appropriately.
It is important for people in these facilities to feel that they are
still a part of their family. Frequent visits by family members or day trips to
the family home go a long way in improving their emotional health. At first,
you may think that paying for elder care will be prohibitively expensive.
However, there may be options available to make it more manageable.