Heart Failure: Psychological Needs of Patients and Caregivers

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Heart Failure: Psychological Needs of Patients and Caregivers

 

Transcript:

 

Host:  Medical University of South Carolina

 

Welcome to this month’s Heart Care newsletter.  Our topic is heart failure creates needs for patient and caregiver.  People with heart failure and those who care for them want more attention paid to their mental health needs, a new study finds.  Researcher Dr. David Beckelman says heart failure patients and their caregivers suffer in a variety of ways.  His findings were presented at a recent American Heart Association meeting. 

 

Heart failure is the progressive loss of the heart’s ability to pump blood.  The scientist interviewed over 30 people diagnosed with heart failure, and 20 of their caregivers.  They found a desire for the same kind of palliative care devoted to reducing suffering that is commonly given to people with cancer.  The patients were asked what was most distressing about having heart failure and what was most helpful for dealing with the condition.  Four major needs emerged from the interviews, says Dr. Beckelman.  Patients need help adjusting to the limitations imposed by heart failure.  They want to know what to expect in terms of progression.  They want help in alleviating physical and emotional symptoms.  And they want better communication with medical personnel. 

 

Treatment of heart failure usually focuses on the medical aspects of the condition, and the needs of the patients and caregivers can vary, says Dr. Beckelman.  Some caregivers will question treatment options for planning purposes.  Some patients, often, aren’t even interested in their prognosis.  Dr. Beckelman recommends a program to address these differing needs.  The benefits for patients could be better control of some symptoms and better coping with the limitations imposed by heart failure.  The hope is that patients and caregivers would be less distressed and could manage better at home without medical care visits which, in turn, would reduce costs. 

 

Dr. Greg _____, an Associate Chief of Cardiology, says doctors recognize that patients who do well have family members who are involved with their care.  Families often assist in monitoring and medical follow-up.  Caregivers can be critically important because traditional delivery systems might be inadequate. 

 

For more information, always consult your doctor.  Thank you for listening.  Please visit our website for more information on health and wellness topics.


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