Becoming a caregiver to someone sick can be hard. It can even become an intimidating experience if you’re to take care of a person who has a heart ailment. When you become a caregiver, you have to do almost everything for your patient. From eating, bathing, giving medications, etc., the list can go on and on.
It might sound difficult, but with the right support and by following the tips below, you can easily take care of your patient who has a heart ailment. Here’s how:
1) Take Care of Yourself
First things first, you should know that being a caregiver isn’t easy. It’s true that caring for your loved with heart disease is already a big responsibility, but more than anything, you should look after yourself.
A caregiver’s role is also a rewarding experience, too. As long as you take care of yourself, your role is going to be much easier. Keep in mind that if you can’t look after yourself properly, it’s impossible for you to take care of a person that’s dealing with a heart ailment.
Caring for other people can make you selfless but if you’re ignoring yourself because of others, it’ll make you become irritable and frustrated.
2) Promote Physical Activities
Depending on your patient’s condition and symptoms, their doctor may suggest that they should do more physical activities to help manage their heart ailment. As a caregiver, you’re in a good position to encourage your patient to get the right exercise that their body needs.
But before you let your loved one engage in physical activities be sure to ask their doctor first about the amount and type of exercise that’s recommended for them. Oftentimes, the doctor will recommend at least 30 minutes of walking every day as a safe way for a person with heart disease to exercise.
3) Follow The Instructions of Their Doctor
Follow the instructions given by their doctor after getting discharged from the hospital. It’s essential that you also stick with your loved one’s follow-up appointments with their doctor.
You should ask questions about your patient’s heart condition and who should you call in case of emergency. Make sure that you understand the medications given to your patient and the reasons why they’re prescribed. It’s also important that you ask the doctor about any side effects that your loved one may experience.
Aside from that, you can also ask their doctor about any devices or tools that can assist you in taking care of your loved one. Ask the doctor if you’re going to need to buy an AED (automated external defibrillator), pediatric electrode pads if you have children at home and other medical devices that can provide assistance in case of an emergency. Check out this site if you want to learn more about using the pediatric pads in AEDs.
4) Overcome Unhealthy Habits
Smoking and alcohol consumption is never good for someone with heart disease. If your patient loves to smoke or drink alcohol every now and then, you should encourage him to quit. This is also the perfect time for you to quit these unhealthy habits if you’re a smoker and an alcoholic too. You have to practice what you preach so that your loved one will follow suit.
If your patient is struggling to stop smoking or drinking alcohol, you should provide support so they can quit. It’s crucial that they stop these things if they want to improve the condition of their heart and prevent other medical issues. Talk to their doctor about programs that can help them quit smoking and drinking alcohol.
5) Stick To a Heart-Healthy Diet
Lastly, it’s essential that you have your patient follow a heart-healthy diet. Sticking to this diet plays a key role in managing heart disease. Prepare a diet that’s low in sodium, fat, and sugar. Also, you have to limit the amount of processed foods your patient eats. And limiting or cutting out meat is a good step to take too. You should also keep a watch on their caloric intake.
It’s best if you prepare a meal that’s rich in vegetables, fish, legumes, and fruits. You can find a lot of heart-healthy recipes online to give you more ideas. You might also want to consult a dietitian to give you advice on which foods are good for your patient and which ones are not (I create meal plans for heart disease, so contact me and ask)!
As a caregiver, you have the opportunity to make a difference in the overall wellbeing of your loved one who has a heart ailment. You should understand and support your patient’s ongoing treatment plan to ensure that they can recover properly and still live a happy and healthy life. It may be challenging but it’s important that you encourage your loved ones to embrace the lifestyle changes and be responsible from now on.