Patients with end-stage congestive heart failure (CHF) and terminal heart disease often make frequent doctor’s office, ER and hospital visits for breathing difficulties, fluid retention and fatigue. *In fact, over one million people in the United States are admitted to inpatient settings for heart failure each year. One in four Medicare heart failure patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days.
Many of these hospital visits could be prevented with the support of hospice care, but cardiac patients and families are often unaware of the hospice support available for CHF patients while at home.
Hospice considers the following symptoms in cardiac patients when
determining hospice eligibility.
- Ejection fraction <20% (not required, but an important consideration)
- A poor response to diuretics and vasodilators
- Difficulty or labored breathing
- Chest pain
- Changes in appetite, unintentional weight loss
- Impaired sleep functions
- Decline in general physical endurance
How can Hospice Help?
Hospice provides an added level of support for cardiac patients and their families in managing CHF and other heart disease symptoms. Our team is available to answer questions and provide support to help control patient symptoms at home, avoiding visits to the Emergency Department and avoidable hospital admissions.
Our team includes aides, nurses, social workers, bereavement specialists, chaplains, and volunteers all working alongside the patient and their family to address physical and emotional symptoms and provide spiritual support. The care team also provides education and training to families on administering medication and utilizing medical equipment. This ensures the patient receives the greatest benefit, increasing patient and family understanding of their diagnosis, care plan, and prognosis.
While only a physician can make the determination of whether a CHF patient meets the qualifications to be admitted to Hospice, if you are seeing any of the above signs and symptoms in patient with CHF or other end-stage cardiac conditions, it may be time to consider adding the support of hospice care.
If you think Hospice Care would benefit you or a loved one, please contact us and our specialists will walk you through your next steps.
*References: National Hospice and Palliative Organization