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    Caregiving After Surgery for Heart Failure

    Diet

    Healthy eating is good for the healing process. The doctor may give special diet instructions. A poor appetite is common after surgery at first. If this happens to your loved one, encourage him to eat smaller, more frequent meals. Call the doctor if he still doesn't want much food after a few weeks.

    Emotions

    It's common for someone who's had surgery for heart failure surgery to feel sad. These feelings should go away after the first few weeks. If they don't, call the doctor.

    You can help keep your loved one's spirits up by encouraging him to:

    • Get dressed every day.
    • Walk daily.
    • Do hobbies and social activities he enjoys.
    • Share his feelings with others.
    • Spend time with other people.
    • Get enough sleep.
    • Join a support group or cardiac rehabilitation program.

    Sleep After Surgery

    Many people have trouble sleeping for a while after an operation for heart failure. Your loved one's normal sleep patterns should return within a few months. If not, or if lack of shut-eye brings changes in behavior, call the doctor.

    Some things can help:

    If your loved one has pain, suggest he take his pain medication about half an hour before bedtime. Offer to arrange the pillows so he can get into a comfortable position.

    Although it's important to balance activity with rest during recovery, encourage your loved one not to take frequent naps during the day.

    Tell him to avoid caffeine at night, such as chocolate, coffee, tea, and colas.

    Have him get into a bedtime routine. If he follows the same rituals, his body learns to know it's time to relax and go to sleep.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on June 29, 2016
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