Home Health Care for Congestive Heart Failure Patients

Congestive heart failure (CHF) can take a toll on the physical and mental health of patients and their families. CHF can be frustrating, stressful, and disruptive to everyday living. Home health care, which includes palliative care, can help patients and their caregivers team up with their healthcare providers to manage the disease and improve life quality.

What Is Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic condition in which the heart can’t properly pump blood throughout the body. CFH can happen in the left ventricle, the right ventricle, or on both sides. Although some CHF conditions are irreversible, treatment and lifestyle changes can reduce symptoms and help manage the disease.

Conditions leading to CHF include high blood pressure and narrowing of the arteries (coronary artery disease), both of which weaken the heart. Alcohol abuse, heart rhythm abnormalities, thyroid disorders, viral infections affecting cardiac muscle also are contributing factors.

Symptoms and Complications of CHF

CHF can be both sudden (acute) and ongoing (chronic). People who live with CHF feel uncomfortable and tired due to the persistent symptoms, one of which is being short of breath from exertion or lying down. The shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing come from fluid building up in the lungs and other body parts, causing pain and swelling (edema).

Other symptoms include fatigue, leg inflammation, irregular or rapid heartbeat, abdominal swelling, fluid retention, nausea, and lack of appetite. Another sign is chest pain in the event of a heart attack.

Life with CHF can seem erratic. One day a patient might feel good and go on with everyday activities. On other days, they might experience shortness of breath and fatigue, which can interfere with regular exercise and daily routines. Other debilitating effects include the increased need to urinate at night, difficulty concentrating, and fast weight gain from fluid retention.

The prognosis and outlook for CHF patients depend on their age, current health and medical history, and the severity of the disease. One or more complications might arise from CHF, including heart valve and heart rhythm problems, kidney damage or failure, liver damage, and death.

Proper treatment and care can help many CHF patients improve their condition, but CHF is still severe and life-threatening. Patients with more serious conditions might need heart transplantation or surgery to insert a ventricular assist device.

Palliative Care for CHF

Chronic conditions like advanced-stage CHF require palliative care, often called supportive care. Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on relieving symptoms and stress to improve the patient’s quality of life, no matter the patient’s age.

Palliative care involves a team of trained doctors, nurses, nutritionists, therapists, and other providers to work with patients and their families. The group supports the patient and other family members in organizing care, managing pain and other symptoms, navigating the healthcare system, reducing stress, and improving life quality. More specifically, the palliative team makes sure patients understand their care and are up to date on their treatment plans.

Palliative Care for CHF at Home

Some patients receive palliative care in skilled nursing units. Others choose to accept it at home, where they can learn to manage and cope with the condition daily. For example, a home care provider can teach patients how to stand, sit, or lie down to reduce fluid retention in the lungs. They also can guide patients on how to decrease stress when they feel short of breath.

In addition to symptom management, home health care can include assistance with setting personal goals to help patients live with CHF. This approach can also show patients and family members how they can work together to meet their needs while living with this chronic condition.

Patients should remember to take their prescribed medicines, stay physically active, reduce their salt intake, and monitor symptoms and any changes such as weight gain. Patients and family caregivers should remain in touch with their doctors and bring up any questions or concerns with medications and treatment.

Home Care for CHF in the Age of COVID-19

Anyone with a chronic condition like CHF should follow all COVID-19 guidelines on social distancing, wearing masks, and hand washing. Coronavirus spreads through person-to-person contact and respiratory droplets. Because CHF is a risk factor, contracting the virus could lead to more serious complications.

How to Get Palliative Care for CHF

Are you or a family member living with CHF? In that case, it’s essential that you learn about all the care and treatment options available to you. If you live in Central Coast, Hollister, or Monterey County, consider CCVNA as an option for CHF home health care. CCVNA has a cardiac care program that provides comprehensive home nursing care. Consider asking your doctor for a referral to CCVNA’s palliative care Monterey County to treat and manage CHF.

What Is Palliative Care and How Can I Know if It’s the Right Choice for a Loved One?

Palliative care can be a difficult topic for anyone involved with chronic or potentially terminal illness. People suffering from those conditions often feel like accepting palliative care is tantamount to giving up. Likewise, the person's family will often feel like they've let him down. This is one of the few downsides to the love family members have for each other. Feeling the need to take care of others often results in people shouldering more than they need to. In fact, most of these viewpoints come from a misunderstanding of what's involved with palliative care.

Asking About Palliative Care Suggests the Answer

How does one know if palliative treatment is the right choice for a loved one? The easy answer is that it usually is the right choice if the question has even come up. People seldom ask about palliative treatment when everything is going smoothly. Instead it usually comes up in one of two ways. A person with a serious condition might start to feel as if their condition is causing a negative impact to others. Or a family member taking care of them might start to wonder if they're up to the task. Both parties in this situation want the best for each other. And when the question comes up it's usually in the context of strain appearing in one or both people. It's important to stress that this kind of help is exactly what palliative treatment is all about. It should never be seen as giving up. Instead, the treatment is all about finding quality of life in the midst of difficult medical conditions.

Palliative Treatment Centers on Quality of Life

In reality palliative treatment is heavily focused on quality of life. People often talk about fighting various diseases or conditions. However, it's just the nature of life that people will eventually face a condition which can't be cured. But this by no means should be taken to mean it's the end of the fight for life. One can't always fight for duration of life. But there's always options to increase the quality of life one has remaining to them. And this is exactly what palliative treatment involves. Prior to palliative treatment one is focusing on trying to fight the battle for their health in two different fields. The patient is trying to beat a particular medical condition and retain quality of life. At a certain point it's evident that the condition is going to be a permanent concern. The fight should therefore move into focusing on quality of life.

Medical Care as a Continual Process Which Adapts to Changing Needs

Palliative treatment should therefore be seen as a continuation of the prior efforts. This is also where one sees a shift in how to approach overall care. It's natural to rely on doctors when treating an illness. However, the patient's family members often make the mistake of assuming that they need to take over when treatment shifts to quality of life issues. The problems with this approach should be apparent when one really looks into it. Medical issues should always be handled by professionals when possible. Even when it's possible for people to take on some of that responsibility there's a question of need. Whose needs are being taken care of if a family tries to provide quality of life care?

Family members usually aren't prepared to provide palliative treatment on their own. At the same time they often feel as if they should be able to do so. It can create guilt for both the patient and family members alike. However, the sentiment and need is fully undeserved. Someone should no more be expected to provide palliative treatment on their own than they should be expected to provide services comparable to a medical doctor. Medical resources exist for a good reason. Expert palliative treatment exists to improve the life of both the patient and his or her family. But what exactly is involved with palliative treatment? This can be best understood by considering a hypothetical example of someone located in Monterey County.

Focusing on Medical and Emotional Needs

Consider the example of a daughter hoping to find help for her mother. To begin, she'd want to concentrate on senior care Monterey County style. The emphasis on local care might seem surprising at first. However, senior care Hollister or Monterey County style brings important distinctions. It means that people are able to enjoy a climate and setting which fits in with their needs. Palliative treatment puts a heavy emphasis on comfort. Quality of life is often vastly improved when people find a local social and environmental climate which promotes relaxation.

Next, it's important to keep one point in mind above any other. Palliative treatment focuses on the needs of a patient rather than on the patient's prognosis. This might seem like a small distinction at first. However, one needs to really consider how most medical conditions are treated.

If someone has cancer than almost everything revolves around it. If a doctor asks how the patient feels it's not about whether they're having a pleasant day. The question is always about how a patient's life might provide clues about the cancer. Even loved ones will usually need to focus on the condition. It's not out of any callousness. It's simply that people need to understand the condition in order to understand what a person is capable of at any given time.

Talking over the medical condition helps people understand how to approach the individual at any given time. And this is just the approach which people outside the medical profession are forced into. It's usually their first time dealing with late stage cancer. And the same general philosophy applies to any severely restrictive medical condition. Doctors need to focus on treating the condition. And family members aren't familiar enough with medical treatment to adapt to intuitively adapt to it.

Palliative treatment instead focuses on the patients rather than the conditions they might suffer from. This usually comes as a huge relief to everyone involved. Family members no longer have to feel like they're essentially acting as a medical support team. They can instead be the sons and daughters, husbands and wives, or anything else for their loved ones. For many people palliative care is about resuming an actual life with their loved one.

Finding Relief in the Midst of an Often Difficult Struggle

The person entering into palliative treatment is often relieved as well. It's easy to misunderstand what people are interested in at the end of their journey. People with decade upon decade left to them often find it hard to see the world any differently. However, people closer to the end start to consider what the world will be in the future. And in particular they often find themselves worrying about their loved ones. The idea of the illness wracking their body causing pain to loved ones can become a serious issue. Basically, it's easy to find oneself worrying about causing worry in others.

The person's loved ones often feel the same way before palliative treatment is brought into the discussion. It's easy for a family to worry about causing their ailing loved one additional stress. However, people struggling to meet the needs of such a loved one are usually far less successful in hiding their own pain than one might imagine. The toll it takes on both parties can be significant. And in the end it often risks the last years of someone's life.

Palliative treatment is essentially a choice to never give up on life. It means that people accept the help of the experts in order to maximize quality of life in the midst of difficult medical concerns. And in the end it means that a family can celebrate their ailing loved ones life with them rather than stressing over how to provide proper care. The highest quality is there for the loved one because it's provided by experts. This doesn't just refer to experts in medical care either. These are experts who understand that finding joy in the midst of illness is both possible and a priority.

what is home health care

What Does A Home Care Nurse Do?

Home health care offers supportive, loving services in a relaxed and familiar environment where you feel comfortable. It may let you stay in your home for longer before you decide to move to a nursing home. Your family wants to know that you have someone who looks after you, and your comfort gives them peace of mind. If you live in Monterey County or Hollister, CA, your local VNA & Hospice can provide the care that you need.

Getting Nursing Care

A home health care nurse can come to your home to give you hospital-level care. Some RNs prefer to provide top-notch home medical care to people like you. A home health care RN can take your vital signs, clean your wounds, draw blood, give you medication, and help you get around. You can count on your nurse to provide reliable and trustworthy care to satisfy your comfort and medical needs.

  • Your nurse can perform skilled services that include changing your dressings, managing your medications, and giving you an IV.
  • As an efficient organizer, your nurse coordinates the care that you may need from various health care providers.
  • A central source of knowledge about your medical condition, the nurse evaluates your health status and communicates it to doctors.
  • You can learn from your nurse how to understand newly diagnosed conditions such as heart issues or diabetes.

Benefiting from Physical Therapy

A home care physical therapist (PT) can improve your quality of life through motion and activity. The aging process can weaken your muscles and cause balance issues that lead to falls. With guidance from a PT, you may find that you can have less dependence on opioids. You can learn a lot about your body and how to use it efficiently. An alternative to an outpatient facility after surgery, in-home physical therapy may suit you perfectly. You can rely on a skilled professional therapist to provide the treatments that you need.

  • A physical therapist can assess your risk of falling and design a home exercise plan to help reduce it.
  • Recommendations from a PT may include assistive devices or medical equipment.
  • Working with a trained PT can improve your strength, balance, and mobility.
  • As your health improves through exercise, you may feel safer and more independent.

Letting an Occupational Therapist Help You

A trained professional in occupational therapy can visit your home to find ways to help you lead an active and independent life. By observing your activities during a day, an OT can assess your physical condition and suggest ways to make your life more pleasant. Some things that an OT can do for you include helping you get dressed or move safely around your house. You may enjoy some assistance in preparing or eating a meal. You can count on an OT to design some helpful ways to make your life easier and more enjoyable.

  • An initial evaluation of your home environment can help an OT determine how it affects your activities and safety.
  • You can receive recommendations for solutions and techniques that increase your independence.
  • An OC may identify new ways for you to perform the routine activities of daily living.
  • Some suggestions for a home exercise plan can help improve your overall safety through exercises that increase muscle strength and balance.

Improving Speech with Therapy

Communication lets you interact with everyone around you, and a speech therapist can help you cope with events that may affect it. Communication enables you to describe what you need or tell someone about a pain that bothers you. The natural aging process can make your vocal cords feel weak and unable to produce sounds the way you want. Some health events can affect your mouth and throat, limiting the way you talk, eat and swallow. A speech therapist can help you learn to speak again with vocal exercises that improve communication.

  • An evaluation by a trained therapist can identify any speech limitations or disorders that you may have.
  • Speech therapy can maximize functional independence in communication and swallowing.
  • Your risk of aspiration and choking may diminish with treatment from a speech therapist.
  • The benefits of speech therapy that can improve communication include helping you think more clearly and remember things more effectively.

Understanding Medical Social Worker Duties in Homes for the Elderly

Your family can gain peace of mind if you need to move to a facility that offers specialized services. Medical social workers can assist you through physical and emotional support. You can get the help there that you need, and your family wants to know that you feel safe and comfortable there. A social worker can help you adjust to your new living arrangement and give you the supportive counseling that eases your mind. As an advocate for your needs and rights, a social worker can represent your concerns in an effective way and perform essential services that matter to you.

  • Social workers help you achieve a sense of well-being and advocate on your behalf.
  • Your family can rely on a social worker to provide links to community resources.

Letting a Home Health Aide Help You

Personal care can sometimes present difficulties when you have trouble moving around or taking care of hygiene. A home health aide knows how to help you bathe, brush your teeth, use the toilet and get dressed or undressed. You can count on a friendly and knowledgeable helper when you need some assistance.

  • Your aide can help you move from one chair to another.
  • You can receive personal care that keeps you clean and comfortable.
  • An aide can take your blood pressure, pulse, and temperature on doctor’s orders.

Home health care lets you continue to live the way that you want to, and you can stay in touch with friends who may stop by to visit. As a resident of Monterey County or Hollister, CA, you have access to the local VNA & Hospice for the care that you need.

Top Reasons Seniors Prefer Home Health Care

It is common for children of an aging parent  to worry about their parent's safety. However, In a survey conducted by AARP, it was discovered 90% of senior citizens prefer staying in their homes as they age versus entering an assisted-living home. In addition, while many will need help taking care of daily tasks, such as cooking meals, bathing, and running errands, at least 82 percent said they still wish to remain at home.

Moreover, seniors fare better when they receive emotional support from their family and friends. They feel safe when surrounded by loved ones. The more they interact with those whom they love, the less likely they are to become withdrawn or depressed.

Bringing in a home health care worker can really improve your parent's life. Caregivers provide individual attention and care in your parent's home. So, your loved one receives personal contact and much needed support. Your parent's basic needs will be met, and they can create a connection. Over the long term, there are many reasons staying at home and receiving in-home care are a great option for them and your peace of mind.

Create Comfort

Very few of us like change. And the older we get, we tend to like it less. As Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz told us, "There's no place like home." Feeling safe and comfortable leads to good mental health. We all want our parents to feel happy as they age, and staying at home is a key to maintaining that state of wellbeing.

Alleviate Anxiety

Fear of the unknown can make anyone anxious, but seniors are especially prone because aging is frought with unknowns. Knowing you can at least stay in your own home can help ease those fears. On another level, knowing your surroundings and "making it on your own" builds confidence. An unexpected illness can add stress to your senior's life and cause a long term negative effect. A home health care worker is trained for such a situation. Together, you and the caregiver can ease your loved one's anxiety.

Online Resources

If your parents aren't tech savvy, perhaps you can help lead them to the numerous resources available online. Grocery stores deliver and meal delivery services are everywhere. Even pet products can be purchased online, as well as housekeeping and yard work. Many items they need can be brought to their doorstep. The in-home care giver can help with this as well.

Reduce Stress

Being a caregiver to anyone is more stressful than you might imagine. And when it's your parent, other challenges come in to play. When your parent is able to remain in their home, it can make it easier when you have discussions about finances and medical decisions. Furthermore,with an in-home care giver, you have another resource who understands seniors and can help mediate discussions.

Curb Isolation

Your parent is less likely to feel isolated or unhappy if they are in a familiar ad comfortable setting. When you're not able to be there, the in-home care giver can offer much needed company. Your loved one can show off their old family albums and talk about the glory days, which are great for feeling connected.

Save Money

Advisers from the AARP calculate the average cost of a nursing home or assisted-living facility as more than $50,000 annually. It might be helpful to sit down with your parent and create a budget. You may be surprised when you weigh the pluses and minuses of living at home versus in a nursing home. In addition, home health care services cost less than nursing home care, so your parent will have a win-win.


Imagine the comfort you would feel, and the comfort your parent would feel, walking freely through their own home. Even if the home care worker has to help them fix a snack or use the bathroom, your loved one still can rest in their own bed or on their own couch. Seniors who move to an assisted-living facility feel as though they've lost their independence. Living at home gives them freedom, which builds confidence and promotes well-being.

Maintain Safety

When your parent lives in their own home, they are less likely to become a victim of elder abuse and/or neglect. You will help them select an in-home caregiver, and you can drop in to check on them at any time, and not be subject to a facility's schedule.

If you are able to keep your loved one at home, and provide them with in-home health care, it will be a benefit to them and you. You can find many trustworthy and well-established home care providers that provide 100% in-home care. We all want to keep our parents safe, comfortable and happy. That includes enabling them to live in their own home and bringing in skilled, humane caregivers. This option can be a blessing to your loved one and leave you feeling confident they are receiving the best care possible.

Happy trainer communicating with senior woman sitting by man in gym

4 Major Benefits of Occupational Therapy

When it comes to aging, everyone needs some form of assistance from time to time. One of the best things a senior can do for his health is to get an occupational therapists. These home health care professionals are trained to assist patients' in reaching the goal of living a high quality life as independently as possible. Some of the services occupational therapists provide include:

  • A home safety evaluation
  • Recommendations on solutions that can improve independence and mobility
  • Provide a personalized exercise plan
  • Assistance in improving strength, balance, and personal safety
  • Guidance in recreating daily routines to maximize quality of life

With all of the services they provide, it's easy to see why occupational therapists are so often recommended to the elderly. After all, these certified professionals give their patients several home health care benefits. Keep reading to learn about the 4 major benefits home health care patients receive from occupational therapists.

1.) A Safer Home

It's common for aging citizens to loose their sense of mobility and balance.  Occupational therapists can help keep aging loved one safe by installing safety features throughout the patient's home. This includes handrails, grab bars, ramps, and walk-in bathtubs. These home modifications not only help patients remain safe, they also promote independence.

Another way occupational therapists help keep their patients safe is through fall prevention. In the elderly community, falls can be a major health problem. In fact, falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospital visits for people of the age of 65. Furthermore, falls are the primary leading cause of death for senior citizens.

Occupational therapists help patients become more aware of the fall risks that surround them in their every day life. If you hire an occupational therapist, he or she can teach you muscle building and balance exercises. Occupational therapists can also teach you how to avoid major fall risks while still living an active lifestyle.

2.) Aging In Place

It is common for many Americans to loose their ability to live on their own as they grow older and less mobile. However, nearly 90% of seniors would prefer to age in the comfort of their home instead of moving to a nursing facility or senior home. Thankfully,  home health care providers like Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice in Monterey County are here to help. With their help, elderly residents are able to get the assistance they need to spend their golden years at home.

In order to help patients achieve this goal, occupations therapists will work with other people in the patient's community to develop beneficial partnerships. With the addition of safety features like non-slip floors, personal alert systems, and bathroom aides, occupational therapists can teach anyone how to be active and make the most out of their retirement.

3.) Improved Health and Mental Restoration

One of the most popular benefits of having an occupational therapist is that it can improve your health and aid in mental restoration. Any aging senior who wishes to remain in their home and maintain some form of independence can see the immediate benefit in this.

First, occupational therapists do a lot of work to make sure patient's home are safe. They also teach their patients how to stay active and eat well. Therefore, it's no wonder that many patients experience improved health. After all, occupational therapists focus on increasing the quality and satisfaction in each patient's life. Occupational therapists can teach senior citizens how change their daily lifestyles and overcome fears to get the benefit of improved health.

Wondering how occupational therapists help with mental restoration? It's not surprising if you do. After all, one of the aging population's biggest concerns is the loss of mental abilities. However, occupational therapy can help patients retain their brain power. Through techniques like mental exercises, patients can get the mental exercise their brains need.

4.) Caregiver Relief

Anyone who has had to help care for an aging relative knows how caregiving can be both a rewarding and exhausting process. Thankfully, a fully trained occupational therapist can help relieve some of the common stresses and pressures of caregiving.

Wouldn't it be nice to have some time to yourself to run errands, visit friends, or just relax while a certified professional is providing your loved one with quality care? Just as occupational therapist teach their patients how to live active and independent lifestyles, they also teach caregivers who to practice self-care.

Find An Occupational Therapist Near You

Looking for an occupational therapy near you or your loved one? If you live in the Monterey County area, consider reaching out to Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice. Their trained staff are able to assist patients with all of their home health care needs, including occupational therapy. Contact one of their nurses at 831-226-7666 to learn more.

How To Find A Good Home Health Care Nurse

With the year coming to an end, it's easy to realize just how much time has passed. Everyone is growing older and it's important to make sure your loved ones are taken care of. Take a moment to check in with your elderly loved one at this year's family reunion. That's the best way to make sure everyone is getting the help they need.

Some people are hesitant to approach their relatives about the topic of health care because they think it means sending people away to nursing homes. However, that is simply not the case. There are many ways to access affordable home health care. This allows your loved ones to receive the help they need in the environment they are most comfortable in.

There are a number of options available so it's important to choose what works best for you and your family. However, narrowing down your options to the right choice can be tricky. To help you out, we've complied a list of tips to help you find good nurse who provides excellent home health care services.

Know Your Situation

As we mentioned earlier, it's important that you take into account the specific needs of you or your loved ones before you choose a home health care nurse. Say you are looking for nurse to help you with your health care needs at home. Do you want a nurse to be in your house a few hours a day or a few days a week? Or, maybe you'd like someone who is available 24/7. It really depends on what would make you healthiest and happiest.

As you get more information from home health care providers, make sure you voice your situation and your specific preferences. This will help you weed out any options that won't meet your needs early on. As you narrow your search, you can become more and more specific until you find the home health care provider that best meets all of your health needs.

Experience Is Needed

First, to ensure the nurse you are hiring is well-qualified for the position, make sure the place she comes from is fully certified. If the provider has many awards and positive reviews, it stands to reason that their nurses will be equally as amazing.

Next, it's important to make sure the nurse you want to hire can handle all the tasks you need help with. We recommend meeting with potential nurses beforehand. This will allow you to ask about each nurse's set of skills to find one that best suits your needs.

Personality Is Key

One of the most important things you can do when looking for a home health care nurse is to make sure your potential nurse has a personality you can get along with. Why? Well, most home health care nurses provide more than just health care services. They can also help with domestic tasks like housekeeping, shopping, and more.

If you're in need of assistance with many of the tasks mentioned, that means that you'll be spending a lot of time with the nurse you choose. If you're stuck with a nurse who has habits that drive you nuts, you are going to make yourself miserable. In order to find a nurse who's company you'll enjoy, we recommend setting up an interview. This will allow you to ask your potential nurse questions about him or herself. If you like what you here, you can proceed with hiring them. If not, you can save yourself time and start looking for a nurse who is a better fit.

Ask For References

To confirm that you've found the right nurse for you or your loved one, make sure to request references from previous patients. This will give you a chance to see how others perceive the nurse you are considering. Here are some positive things you should keep an eye out for:

  • Perfect Punctuality (You want a nurse who always gets his or her tasks completed on time.)
  • Friendly Personality (You're going to want someone you enjoy spending time with.)
  • Great Eye For Detail (You'll want a nurse who notices everything, it could save your life.)

Need More Help?

If you follow the tips above, you'll be able to find  the perfect nurse from the right home health care provider. However, if you find yourself having trouble, don't worry. Local home health care providers will be happy to answer any of your questions. In fact, many of them have websites full of informative blogs full of the information you are looking for.

If you live in California's Central Coast area, an important resource available to you is Central Coast Visiting Nurse Association (VNA). VNA provides a number of health care services, including home health care, to residents throughout Monterey county. Call 831-372-6668  to speak with one of  VNA's exceptional home health care  nurses. Or visit VNA's website to learn more: https://goo.gl/zSYBz3