This section focuses on caregivers for people with heart failure including but not limited to congestive heart failure. A caregiver could be a spouse, child, grandchild, sibling, parent, or friend. Sometimes a carer may be provided by the national health system or employed privately.
When a family member or friend is diagnosed with heart failure, you may experience a range of emotions. The person with heart failure will face several challenges in coming to terms with the diagnosis, learning about heart failure, its treatments, and making decisions about their care. They will also learn how to live with heart failure symptoms and any lifestyle changes that may be needed. As a relative or friend, you will also face challenges understanding the diagnosis, new medicines, and the impact on lifestyle.
Providing care and support for a person with a long-term condition like heart failure can be fulfilling. Yet, it can also be physically and emotionally exhausting. Persons with heart failure may need your help practically as well as supporting their own adjustment to living with heart failure and making decisions about treatments. This may also include a role in supporting the development of a care plan to manage heart failure and the care wishes of the person with heart failure. You may find yourself trying to support them while managing the challenges you now face, too. It is important that you are also supported in this journey. This includes not just how to support your relative or friend, but how to support yourself. If you are a professional caregiver, it is important that you understand what heart failure is, the importance of treatments, and monitoring the symptoms for change. Caregivers have an important role in recognising heart failure symptoms and preventing hospital admission.
In this section, we look at the role of a caregiver and the special challenges that you may face. We aim to provide you with some ideas and helpful tips to make your role easier. You can adapt any suggestions to your own circumstances and preferences, as your needs and experiences are unique to you.