What is a Heart Disease Hospice?

People living with heart failure and their families experience high levels of distress, while accessing hospice care less easily compared to those diagnosed with cancer. This must change.

Hospice provides care from a team approach, comprising nurses, social workers, physical and music therapists, chaplains and volunteers – with patients remaining involved in planning their care plan alongside their attending physician.

Symptom Management

Symptom Management

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, often manifested with symptoms including chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue.

It may be caused by coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure or cardiac valve disease and treatment options can include lifestyle modifications, medications or procedures such as angioplasty and bypass surgery.

Hospice care for advanced heart disease provides pain management, support for family caregivers and various services to enhance a patient’s quality of life during the final stages of heart failure. The best heart disease hospices also offer emotional and spiritual care that may benefit patients as well as their loved ones. This can be a great help during a time of stress.

Symptom recognition is central to palliative care and can help inform clinical decisions. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of assessing and documenting end-of-life care needs it can be challenging to accurately ascertain when someone needs hospice. This is particularly evident when dealing with conditions like end stage heart disease which often present with various symptoms that need attention.

Physical Care

Hospice care for end-stage heart disease provides palliative (comfort) treatments that manage pain and alleviate distressful symptoms like breathlessness. Hospice teams also assist the patients themselves as well as family and caregivers to cope with emotional and spiritual impacts of heart disease on quality of life.

Hospice services for people living with heart disease offer in-home care from a multidisciplinary team that includes nurses, social workers, physical or occupational therapists, counselors and volunteers. Your attending physician continues to oversee your care while hospice staff remains available around the clock in case any emergencies or hospitalizations occur.

To best determine whether hospice is right for you or a loved one, speak to their cardiologist or primary care provider. In general, doctors refer patients for hospice when their life expectancy falls within six months, provided the disease progresses normally.

As soon as hospice admission occurs, a medical team will review your medications to ensure they are providing relief and identify any that might be contributing to bothersome side effects like increased bleeding or gastrointestinal upset. A pharmacist will be able to make any necessary modifications and also provide additional over-the-counter remedies that may help alleviate pain or symptoms at home.

Emotional Care

Emotional Care

Hospice care can be of great assistance for heart patients at late stages, when symptoms have become severe, to make them as comfortable as possible and reduce hospitalizations that cause physical distress.

Hospice nurses, social workers and physical or occupational therapists are on hand to manage pain, stress or any end-of-life symptoms as part of a team including an attending physician and, upon request from the patient, clergy members. You can visit this site to learn more about the duties of hospice nurses.

Patients living with advanced heart failure often find themselves hospitalized time after time, creating anxiety and depression among themselves as well as financial strain for those providing the majority of their care. Hospice care offers symptom management in either their home environment or contracted nursing facilities to alleviate some of this burden and stress.

Hospice staff assists patients in managing their emotional needs as well as family caregivers coping and providing emotional support, including referral to counselors or spiritual advisers when necessary.

Hospice can also offer respite care if necessary and financial assistance for hospice services through Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance; including payments for medications, supplies and equipment related to hospice diagnosis.

Spiritual Care

Spiritual care is a patient-centric approach that addresses existential, relational, religious issues and emotions while helping patients cope with transitioning out of life. Spiritual caregivers are present with their patients while supporting them in their search for meaning or reconciliation; additionally they pay attention to any spiritual needs their loved ones might have before helping them in saying farewell.

Nurses can assess the spiritual needs of their patients by taking note of what they say and feel. For instance, if a patient frequently mentions religion or seems angry or anxious at times, this is often an indicator that their faith could be challenging them.

Nursing staff should also recognize that some patients may have spiritual needs but don’t wish to discuss it, and should respect this aspect of care. Also, spiritual care shouldn’t involve converting anyone to one set of beliefs; rather, it should focus on connecting individuals to their faith if desired.

As per existing literature, spiritual care appears to be associated with better quality of life and greater patient satisfaction. Furthermore, it can provide essential comfort when faced with a serious illness such as heart disease.