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Editorial: Helping chronic heart disease patients stay healthy at home

Posted: February 1st, 2013 | Featured, Opinion | No Comments

By Jennifer Robinson, PT

According to John Hopkins Medicine, there are 82 million people in this country suffering from some form of cardiovascular disease who are in need of support and education. At Mission Healthcare we’d like to use this American Heart Awareness Month as an opportunity to educate patients, family members and hospitals on what they can do to slow the progression of the disease and increase one’s quality of life.

Jennifer Robinson

Individuals with congestive heart failure most importantly need to understand how to live healthy, even when suffering from chronic diseases by making a variety of lifestyle modifications. These may include: using less salt, cutting out fried foods, quitting smoking or increasing physical activity. If a person picks just one thing they want to work on per month, all of a sudden they have changed 12 bad habits over the course of a year. If performed together, all of these may feel overwhelming. However, each addressed separately may not feel difficult at all.

The tough part is when patients are dealing with an acute exacerbation of their disease, these simple adjustments may feel impossible to accomplish. Some of the challenges lie with the amount of medication one may have to take. Lifestyle changes coupled with multiple medications can prove to be daunting and difficult to tackle on their own. Often times, patients do not take the correct doses of medication, don’t know what signs to look for if medications are not working, or may not be on the correct medication schedule.

This confusion results in more hospital visits, more calls to physician offices, and puts an increased stress on the caregiver. It also decreases the quality of life for the patient. This is where home health care can help. Having a registered nurse visit the home to sort out the medication madness can oftentimes prevent the aforementioned events from occurring. Having a professional in the home for even just an hour a few times a week to educate and provide guidance can ease this process for the individual and their caregiver. This ultimately prevents unnecessary spending of healthcare dollars on higher levels of care, such as emergency room visits.

Home health care also ensures that patients, their family members and their health care providers work as a team in managing heart conditions. By working as a team patients can live longer and improve their overall wellbeing.

When you have someone to help you recognize the early symptoms of your condition, helping you keep your doctors and loved ones updated and receive appropriate and timely treatment to help prevent serious complications, it leads to reduced hospital costs, caregiver stress and increased quality of life. The more you know about your disease or your loved ones’ condition, the more you can be involved in the preventative care and treatment.

Take time this February to stick to healthy living goals and educate yourself about home health. We know home is where you want to be and it is our goal to keep you there. Happy Heart Awareness Month.

—Director Jennifer Robinson is co-founder of Mission Healthcare, and brings an unparalleled devotion for superior care and employee excellence. Drawing on over 20 years of healthcare experience, Robinson oversees recruitment and human resources, with a focus on increasing customer satisfaction and ensuring comprehensive training for all new and existing staff. For more information visit homewithmission.com or call 888-871-0766.

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