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What Are the Signs of End Stage Heart Failure?

July 15, 2022, Caregiving, Counseling & Support, Elder Medical Care, Gilchrist, Grief, Hospice, Social Work

What Are the Signs of End Stage Heart Failure?

About 6.2 million adults in the U.S. have heart failure, and heart disease is responsible for one in four deaths. While there is no cure for end stage heart failure, symptoms can be managed through palliative or hospice care. If you have a loved one with heart failure, you may be wondering how to recognize the signs of end stage heart failure.

What Is Heart Failure?

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart is not pumping blood throughout the body as efficiently as it should. Heart failure is a serious condition, but it does not mean that the heart has stopped beating.

Most of the time, heart failure1 develops and progresses gradually. A person at the end stage of heart failure may have many symptoms and experience them even while resting. Symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Exhaustion
  • Weight loss
  • Changes in skin color
  • Swelling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Severe, unexplained weight loss
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Increasing discomfort with any amount of physical activity

Managing Symptoms of Heart Failure

Good medical management of heart failure can help a person live longer, with a better quality of life. It can also help reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Gilchrist’s Advanced Cardiac Care community-integrated partnership helps those living with end-stage heart disease manage their symptoms. In addition, hospice care can provide invaluable care and support to the patient and family.

How Can Hospice Help People With Heart Failure?

Hospice Care provides a team of doctors, nurses, social workers, aides, chaplains and volunteers focused on helping people with serious illness live life to the fullest. Medical care and medications can help improve symptoms and make the patient more comfortable. The hospice team will also provide education about what to expect as the illness progresses.

In addition, hospice cares for a person’s emotional and spiritual needs through counseling and chaplain support. In addition to caring for the patient, hospice provides support to the family. The patient and family have access to health care experts 24 hours a day.

It’s important to understand that hospice does not mean giving up hope. It is merely choosing to change the focus of care to comfort and quality of life.

Studies have shown that people with life-limiting illnesses who enroll in hospice care live an average of 29 days longer than those who did not. The increase is most often due to the coordination of care hospice provides and because they are no longer receiving advanced treatments that place added stress on the body. Hospice is not about giving up. It is about living your last days, weeks and months to the fullest, and taking the time to spend precious moments with loved ones.

Learn more about Gilchrist Hospice Care

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