CARDIAC INSUFFICIENCY AND PALLIATIVE CARE: AN INDIVIDUALIZED ACTION PLAN
Previously: Heart failure and palliative care (support therapy)
5 important components are treated:
- a review of heart failure and so-called active treatment;
- an individualized action plan;
- supportive caring and help, in addition to so-called active therapy;
- imminent end of life;
- end-of-life care.
An individualized action plan
Successful treatment of a severe chronic condition such as terminal heart failure depends largely on the implementation of an "individualized action plan".
This plan includes tips for dealing with a particular situation and / or changes to the medication during this period.
Here’s an example
For example, body weight increases, legs are swollen and breathing is more difficult; this situation needs to be corrected.
Health professionals have most likely provided you with a plan of action that urges you to quickly follow the pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical recommendations that are included in it. The purpose of this plan is to avoid hospitalization as soon as your weight rises above your personal limit or your ideal weight, called dry weight, your legs are more swollen or you are out of breath.
Weight loss, flu, diarrhea, or other health problems should be reported to the healthcare professionals who are treating you.
The telephone number of a resource person (your reference nurse or doctor) accompanies your action plan: you must call this person the same day.
What can this action plan include?
Often, this plan requires you to stay home and postpone your outdoor activities until your condition improves.
You must weigh yourself every day. If your fluid intake needs to be further restricted, the level of this restriction will be indicated in your action plan. For example, drinking water may be restricted to a maximum of 1.5 litres per day.
Instructions are given to the patient for taking diuretics, which are pills that make you urinate more often. Surplus tablets are included in the prescription that accompanies the plan and the additional dose to be taken is also indicated.
Tools available to avoid a hospital stay
In this way, the patient, his family and close friends accompanying him or her and the various professionals have, with this action plan, the tools to cope with any situation, whether it is urgent or not.
The plan includes prescriptions set in advance by the health professional, so that the patient and resource persons can react quickly to a deterioration of the patient's condition and avoid unnecessary consultation with the emergency department or stay in the hospital.
It is important to mention that a lack of understanding of the disease is associated with a higher risk of death within two years of hospitalization for heart failure.