HOSPICE CARE FOR PATIENTS WITH END STAGE HEART DISEASE

Your Trusted Source for Hospice Care for Heart Disease Patients in North Augusta 

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.

hospice care for terminal heart disease

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 in North Augusta and Surrounding Communities

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 1-803-441-0174 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:

  • Have repeated hospitalizations or trips to the ER
  • Have advanced congestive heart failure or other advanced coronary disease (chronic ischemic heart disease, left side heart failure, previous myocardial infarction).
  • Choose not to follow recommended medical therapy
  • Have poor response to diuretics and vasodilators, has had a medical contraindication to those drugs or has made a conscious decision not to take them.
  • Have an abnormal heart rate caused by the disease and is experiencing significant symptoms
  • Are unable to carry on any physical activity without shortness of breath or chest pain.
  • Have already received medical treatment for their disease and they are not candidates for additional treatments, surgery or other medical interventions
  • Fail to “bounce back” after medical set-backs occur
  • Require increasing assistance needed for walking, eating, bathing, dressing or going to the toilet
  • Have decreasing alertness – patient is emotionally withdrawn, sleeping more or having increased difficulty with comprehension
  • Have the result of <20% with a test that measures the Ejection Fraction (EF) of the heart
  • Refuse further treatment

The patient’s primary physician may recommend hospice care when the time is appropriate. Oftentimes, patients and their families may have to be their own advocates to initiate the hospice care they desire. The patient, their family, or the patient’s doctor may request an evaluation and consultation with Alliance to determine if hospice is an appropriate option.

Benefits of Alliance Hospice Care for Heart Disease Patients

The Alliance hospice team will evaluate the patient’s medical status and revise their care plan as the patient’s condition and symptoms change. The goal of hospice care for heart disease patients is to treat pain and other symptoms and relieve the physical and emotional stress to ensure the greatest level of comfort for our patients and their families.

  • Pain Management – Our Hospice Care team provides palliative care which focuses on relieving pain and maintaining comfort.
  • Symptom Control – Our Hospice Care team regularly assesses each patient’s condition and works with the physician to determine the most effective treatment and medication options to maximize symptom control.
  • Hospice Care at Home – Wherever Home May Be – The goal of hospice care is to support patients by meeting their needs and managing their care at home – wherever they may call home. This means hospice services are provided in a patient’s home, whether that is their primary residence, a nursing home, or home of a loved one. Allowing one to stay at their home gives them the ultimate comfort when addressing terminal illnesses.
  • Coordinated Care Approach – Hospice care is a team effort. The patient’s family and loved ones are actively involved along with a team of professionals and volunteers. With the help and support of the hospice care team, the patient and their family can attain physical, emotional, and spiritual preparation for the end of life.
  • Holistic Approach – Emotional and Spiritual Support – Therapy and counseling services add an additional level of care to the hospice services provided by Alliance Hospice. Therapy and counseling are non-invasive, holistic practices which enhance the medical, social and spiritual care of the hospice team. These practices promote comfort and wholeness for both patients and their families. Therapy and counseling sessions are provided by staff and volunteers of the Alliance hospice team.

Alliance Hospice operates hospice care and palliative care programs in North Augusta, South Carolina and the surrounding communities in Aiken, Barnwell, Edgefield and McCormick Counties. We are one of the nation’s premier providers of end-of-life care. Click here to Request Information or call us toll free at 1-803-441-0174 to learn how hospice care can help.