How do you help care for a loved one with heart failure?

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My mom was diagnosed with heart failure about a month ago and has been in hospital and rehab. She is going home next week. I know what symptoms to look for and know I need to keep a daily log of her weight and blood pressure. But her nurse practitioner told me to keep a detailed log of bodily symptoms like belly swelling, heart rate, etc., as well as mood changes, rating them on a scale. My mother is losing her memory, very frail and it will take all I have to just get her up and onto the scale each morning. I just cannot do a detailed log, which I think should be handled by a nurse or other health care professional. I would think it would be enough to be aware of problems like swelling, cough, etc. and just note if they worsen, rather than rate a dozen things on a scale each morning. We will have a visiting nurse and the nurse practitioner will come a few times a month. And I am looking for a home health aide. Has anyone else had this experience where they were asked to keep such a detailed log? Thanks.

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Thanks so much for all your responses.

Actually I probably wasn't clear enough with my question...I think my mother is getting good care for heart failure, it's an issue of my not being comfortable with needing to rate a number of symptoms on a 1-10 scale every day. So I'm comfortable doing weight checks, blood pressure and heart rate but think that asking me to rate belly swelling and mood changes is a little extreme. I guess I've answered my own question here!

I suggested to the NP that I just keep a log of the three basics daily and watch out for the other symptoms. He seemed satisfied with that.

I will be caring for my mom at home and probably getting a visiting nurse and home health aide, which should help. I just find dealing with health care professionals in general very stressful, much more so than caring for an ailing mother.

Thanks again!

J
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Reply to janeum
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You can also ask (insist!) that your mother's discharge orders include a visiting nurse and home health care for several weeks.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Unfortunately it is difficult for a nurse or other health care professional to complete the logs requested unless they visit your Mother every morning. I have listed two website that offer a multiple of forms or logs that you can modify so that you can need to keep a daily log of her weight and blood pressure. Download and Print some of the forms and review them with the nurse practitioner and visiting nurse so that they can assist you in revising the forms or logs into a simple "Log of Symptoms" where you can record your Mom's belly swelling, leg swelling, heart rate, etc., as well as mood changes, rating them on a scale.
https://handypdf.com/cat/blood-pressure-log-chart

http://templatelab.com/blood-pressure-log/
{Although these are blood pressure logs, I noticed that there are some of the logs that look like you can revise them to fit your needs. Good Luck!}
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Reply to DeeAnna
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You could ask the NP if she can give you or recommend a pre-printed chart to use. That'd save a heap of time.

How well stabilised would you say your mother is?

Do you happen to have figures for things like her ejection fraction and her kidney function? The first will tell you how severe her heart failure is; the second will give you a rough guide to how fine a balancing act her team is having to pull off between improving her heart function and respiration with diuretics, and protecting her kidneys.

If she was only diagnosed a few weeks ago this really does need careful monitoring so that fine adjustments can be made. I am raising an eyebrow about it all being placed at your door, especially as it's such new territory for you. Have you tried kicking up a fuss, and at least demanding that the nursing team shadow you, say for the first week, until you've got the hang of the routine?

I did log absolutely everything I could think of.* But my mother was diagnosed in 1995, so by the time I was caring for her full-time I'd been paying attention for over fifteen years; and even then I was still outraged when I found out that I should have been expecting vascular dementia all along - nobody bloody told me that!

So, all in all, I think the learning curve you're on is unreasonably steep and you are entitled to demand better support.

* You may find this curious, but weight and blood pressure were not among them. Weight may be a useful guide to fluid retention but there are other ways to monitor it; and daily blood pressure readings taken by even a conscientious amateur... if your mother is so unstable that this really is essential, then she shouldn't be coming home yet.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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You understand the symptoms that show that your mom’s condition is getting worse and they are usually very obvious. I agree, you know what to look for and then you can notify a professional.

My mom has CHF and has only had one episode where she was hospitalized. And she’s had it for 6 years. Taking the diuretic is important too.

If you physically cannot get mom up for weighing the professionals will have to help with the weighing.
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Reply to HolidayEnd
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Does your mom live alone? With you?

Has she been diagnosed with dementia? How aggressively should her heart failure be treated, is the overarching question here.

Is she eligible for Hospice services?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Bumping this up. I hope others have some suggestions for you.
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Reply to SnoopyLove
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