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Helping a Loved One After Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery

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Providing emotional support

Being a full-time caregiver may be an unfamiliar role for you. Maybe you never imagined yourself spending most of your time taking care of a loved one. There are several things you can do to help provide the emotional support needed.

  • Offer encouragement. Adopting the lifestyle changes that doctors recommend for heart disease can be difficult. If your loved one is having trouble or becoming frustrated, encourage him or her to start slowly and build up to the overall goal gradually. You may also offer to change your own lifestyle to encourage healthy behaviors.
  • Offer help, but encourage your loved one to remain active. He or she should try to stay as active as possible. As recovery progresses, moderate exercise and doing simple tasks around the house can be safe. This can help your loved one feel better both physically and mentally. If you are concerned about what activities are safe, speak with the doctor who has been the most involved in your loved one's care.
  • Ask if you can participate in doctor visits. You can offer support by sitting in on doctor visits and taking notes. This can help your loved one remember important instructions and help him or her feel less alone during the recovery experience.

Looking after yourself

Being a caregiver can be mentally and physically challenging. There are things you can do to help make the situation more manageable for yourself. Remember that you will only be an effective and loving caregiver if you are in good physical and mental shape. Try to find ways to reduce the stress of caregiving.

  • Enlist help when you need it. If possible, don't take on all the responsibilities yourself. You may be able to involve other family members or a visiting nurse or even hire a food delivery or housekeeping service to help with the shopping and cleaning.
  • Take time for yourself. Being a caregiver can be stressful and time-consuming. To avoid burnout and to continue to provide care and support, it is important to save some time for activities that you enjoy.
  • Seek emotional support if you need it. Being a caregiver to a loved one who is recovering from major surgery can be emotionally difficult. If you are having trouble 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.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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