Helping with medical care issues

Medical care issues may be particularly confusing and overwhelming at first because there may seem like there’s lot of information to remember.

Here are some suggestions for how you might help with your partner or relative’s medical needs:

  • Take an active role during visits to see the doctor by asking questions and taking notes but without dominating the conversation. This will allow you to help your partner or relative keep track of information about their heart failure medicinesdiet and exercise.
  • Help your partner, relative or carer to follow the doctor’s and nurse’s advice with both practical and moral support. For example:manage their medicines, offer to exercise together regularly and, if you also smoke, stop smoking at the same time, buy and prepare healthy low-salt foods that you and your partner or relative will like and gently remind them why it’s important for them to change their diet, help them monitor their symptoms by weighing themselves daily and measuring their heart rate and blood pressure twice a week.
  • Encourage your partner or relative to have influenza and pneumonia vaccinations, if recommended by their doctor or nurse.
  • Monitor your partner or relative’s progress. Doctors and nurses often rely on family caregivers for information about the patient’s condition, changes in symptoms and progress with diet and exercise recommendations. You can learn more about what to look out for in the warning signs section.

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ESC Guidelines for Heart Failure

What patients need to know

This guide for patients from the European Society of Cardiology aims to provide an overview of the latest evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure.

In particular, it should help patients to understand the:

  • main types of heart failure
  • medicines used to treat heart failure
  • devices that may be appropriate
  • importance of rehabilitation
  • management by a multidisciplinary team
  • importance of self-care in managing your own condition

Learn more


A series of 9 simple, captivating animations explaining heart failure and its treatment.

These narrated animations explain how a healthy heart works, what happens to it in heart failure and how various treatments work to improve your health.


In this section you can watch, listen or read interviews with other people with heart failure and their caregivers.


and share your own views and experiences with other patients, families and caregivers. is a European Society of Cardiology website

The website was developed under the direction of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The ESC is a world leader in the discovery and dissemination of best practices in cardiovascular medicine. Our members and decision-makers are healthcare professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to represent professionals in the field of cardiology in Europe and beyond.

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