Deciding when a patient with heart failure, or other terminal coronary disease, should consider hospice care can be a challenge. The progression of heart failure is not the same as other terminal diseases, like cancer. Cancer generally progresses in a predictable manner and most patients experience a foreseeable decline. With advanced heart failure many patients experience episodes of exacerbation (worsening) of symptoms followed by periods of stability. Because of this relative unpredictability, combined with these periods of sensed improvement, making the decision when to initiate hospice care can be challenging.
Adding to the challenge is the fact that when patients experience a worsening of symptoms, it can be difficult to distinguish whether the disease is worsening or the exacerbation is being caused by other factors, such as medication non-compliance or a temporary intake of excess sodium. Determining the cause may require evaluation by a cardiologist that specializes in heart failure.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with end-stage heart failure, facing end-of-life issues and decisions can be a difficult challenge. Your search for the absolute best care and support does not end when you are told that curative treatment options are no longer recommended. Taking the time to learn about hospice and the level of care it offers to heart disease patients will help you understand all of the available options and better prepare you to make the time you have more comfortable.
While there are heart disease treatments and medical procedures that can help a patient live longer, once these treatment options are exhausted, it becomes a very personal decision for the patient about how long they want to continue the fight. When the symptoms of the disease or side effects of medication outweigh the possible benefits, that’s when many heart disease patients decide to stop treatment and consider alternative options like hospice care.
Hospice Care for Terminal Heart Disease Patients
Hospice care for heart disease patients is often described as an approach that treats the patient, not the disease. The goal of hospice is to make the patient as comfortable and as symptom free as possible.
At Alliance Hospice we recognize the courage it takes to help a loved one who is suffering from a terminal illness. We also understand the physical and emotional stress it places on you to care for this loved one.
If you are reading the information on this web page, chances are you, or someone you love, is facing a difficult physical and emotional battle against heart disease. Your search for answers to important questions about care and support for your loved one do not stop when you are confronted with the realization that there may be no available curative treatment options. The physical hardship of heart disease happens to the patient but this illness affects the family as a whole. Alliance hospice care for heart disease patients is here to help you and your loved ones.
We provide comprehensive hospice care and support services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through our compassionate, experienced and well-trained interdisciplinary team of hospice nurses, home health aides, hospice social workers, therapists, bereavement counselors and volunteers. We always put patients and families first and strive to make every interaction with you and your loved one more meaningful.
Alliance Hospice recognizes the emotional toll and immense courage it takes to help a loved one who is suffering from a terminal illness like cancer. Call Alliance today to see if hospice care is an appropriate option.
When is it time to discuss hospice care for patients with end-stage heart failure?
Patients with end-stage congestive heart failure (CHF) often experience shortness of breath, fluid retention, swelling, chest pain, fatigue and frequent visits to the emergency room and hospital as the disease progresses. Our interdisciplinary Hospice care team can provide care and support for patients with heart failure or advanced coronary disease and their families.
Patients may be considered in the “end stages” of heart disease if they: