Previously: Heart failure and palliative care (support therapy)

5 important components are treated:


Palliative or supportive care

Supportive treatment should be considered as soon as a diagnosis of severe heart failure is made and not at the end of one’s life when the disease progresses.

Early palliative care has shown to improve the patient's quality of life, reduce the frequency of hospitalization and even prolong life expectancy.

This treatment has several components aimed to comfort the affected patient.


Accompanying therapy

Palliative care does not correspond to the standard thoughts that many have in mind where many believe the therapy comforts the sick person and the active medication is stopped.

Palliative care is rather an additional treatment combined with so-called active therapy, also implemented at the time of the diagnosis. The well-being and comfort of the patient must be part of the overall treatment every day.


First contact with the supportive care team

The first contact with the palliative care team makes it possible to meet the various professionals. A resource person is identified and she gives her contact information to reach her. This meeting already gives the patient and their loved ones an invaluable sense of security, and the promise that they will never be left on their own.

On the other hand, this session allows the palliative care team to meet the person in need of care, to understand the importance of the illness and the limitations it imposes on this person, as well as to see the get to know the patient’s family and supports, both as caring and physical standpoints.


Heavily impacted patients

Patients who are terminally ill due to heart failure are very sick because of the heart’s incapacity to meet the needs of the organs such as the kidneys, liver and brain.

As mentioned earlier, these patients are often exhausted, depressed and demoralized, as well as being out of breath at the slightest effort even when doing nothing.

They need compassion, a listening ear and reassurance much more than prescribed antidepressants that take too long to make a difference.


Small measures

The sensation of shortness of breath can be reduced by placing a fan in front of a patient so air is pushed towards him or her. A cold towel and a humidifier in the room also contribute to a soothing sensation.


Ease the pain

We must not forget the physical pain that may be present in these people, who are often faced with other health problems. These pains can be soothed or even disappear completely. Physical suffering is useless, however minimal it may be. This must be well understood by the hurting patient.


Evolution towards intensification of supportive care

The intensification of palliative care occurs during a persistent and irreversible deterioration of the patient's condition.

It can be identified by more frequent and prolonged hospitalizations. Intensification can also be manifested by a loss of autonomy or by the evidence of an impossibility to recover from the physical and / or mental capacities and to a normal functional state for this person.


A decrease in the number of pills is possible at this stage

At this stage, the prescription of a reduced number of pills is possible and, in particular, the ones with more major side effects.

For example, some medication to treat heart failure may be accompanied by kidney complications while others cause a drop in blood pressure that lead to weaknesses and dizziness while standing.

The prescription of less pills aims to decrease the potency of these drugs or eliminate them completely when their side effects are more important than their beneficial effects.


To be continued...