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Caring for a Heart Patient

Heart to Heart 

Heart Failure Expert Sheds Light on How to Help

Life happens.  When it does, we know it can take a village to get people back on their feet.  So how do you best support your friend, family member, or part of your community who is living with a heart condition?

One of the most common heart conditions that could need prolonged support is called Heart Failure. There are about 5.7 million people in the United States with heart failure. Here are some things to consider when providing your loved ones diagnosed with heart failure Give InKind support:

Groceries/Meal Delivery Help:
  • People living with heart failure need to watch the amount of sodium in their diet.  They are typically limited to about 2 grams per day.  Helping provide low sodium healthy meals, avoiding fast food, canned food, and processed foods, will help them be successful.
  • Often people have a fluid restriction and have to limit how much fluids they drink.  They can have 64 ounces per day.  Remember, if it jiggles at room temperature, it’s considered a fluid!
Care Calendar – take a walk!
  • We want people to be active!  Exercise is an important part of daily life and heart health.  Those living with heart failure may need to have more frequent rest stops, and access to places to sit and catch their breath.  Encourage them to be active and support them in their activities of choice!
Wish List:

A newly diagnosed heart failure patient will have to be even more focused on their self care. When creating a Wish List, consider a scale  to help them watch for warning signs of a problem.

Patients will weigh themselves every day and recognize “warning signs" for worsening heart failure.  These include: a 2 pounds weight gain overnight or 5 pounds in 3 days, increase in shortness of breath, walking up at night gasping for breath, feeling groggy/confused, change in appetite due to feeling full, and fatigue that impacts ability to do daily activities.  

For those recovering from heart surgery or a recent heart procedure

Groceries/Meal Delivery Help

  • Following a surgery or procedure, people may have new diet restrictions.  For example, if they have a recent heart attack, they will have to limit the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in their diet.  Helping bring them healthy food choices,  and avoiding fast food and high fat and cholesterol foods, will help contribute to their success. Think fresh! 

Care Calendar Medical Appointment Follow up

  • After a procedure or surgery, there will be follow up appointments and potentially structured exercise programs known as cardiac rehab, to help them increase their endurance. Rides to and from these appointments can make a huge difference for those who can’t drive themselves.  
  • Also remember that the tortoise wins the race!  It’s not about how fast we move, but that we slowly build back our endurance. Your comfort and presence in their lives can go a long way. Drop off a meal, help them get moving, but most of all – simply ask what they need. 

For more information on heart failure visit Together in HF. Create a Give InKind  Support Page for a loved one with heart a heart condition here.


Give InKind does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We have an affiliate relationship with many of the advertisers on our site, and may receive a commission from any products purchased from links in this article. See Terms & Conditions.

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