Challenges of Heart Attack Recovery

Almost one million people have heart attacks each year in the United States.  Nearly 80 percent of those who suffer heart attacks are over the age of 65. While recovering from a heart attack is a challenging process, new advances in technology and aftercare mean seniors can still enjoy an active and healthy life post-heart attack. At Nightingale Homecare, we understand the specific challenges of heart attack recovery. Our skilled nurses and therapists are specifically trained in heart disease and empowering our patients and their families to self-manage chronic heart disease and post-heart attack recovery through Nightingale’s Pathlink program.

Regaining Stamina and Strength

The heart is a muscle, following a heart attack the damage to this muscle can leave patients feeling very fatigued and weak. To assist in recovery, patients are encouraged to engage in regular daily activities, but at a slower pace than normal. Activity levels are built up gradually until the patient is able to return to their prior level of function and strength. Nurses and therapists who provide home care rehabilitation services to patients who have suffered a heart attack can assist in building stamina by:

  • Evaluating the patients care and management routines
  • Recommend and provide assistance with everyday activities during recovery
  • Slowly introducing activities in varying degrees of physical effort to improve stamina
  • Providing an exercise plans individualized to the patient. Ongoing evaluation and education of medications and treatments to ensure they are effective for the individual patient.

Mental and Emotional Recovery

Anxiety and depression often accompany the physical challenges of heart attack recovery. Things like frustration with the inability to perform simple tasks and anxiety over having a major health issue can lead to emotional distress. To help reduce anxiety, family members and caregivers can assist with the following:

  • Provide assistance while promoting increasing independence with dressing and grooming
  • Practice stress management and relaxation techniques
  • Share physical activities recommended by the medical team
  • Encourage participation in hobbies and social activities
  • Assist in preparing nutritious meals and help follow prescribed dietary recommendations
  • Inquire with the patient’s physician about the possible need for counseling and anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications.

Learning how to self-manage heart disease and make necessary lifestyle and behavior changes following a heart attack is critical to a patient’s recovery.  Specially trained home care nurses and therapists work through all the challenges that patients face following a heart attack.  At Nightingale Homecare, our clinicians guide patients in making meaningful and sustained changes in their health behaviors, armed with expertise in behavior change concepts and motivational techniques.  The result is a motivated patient that is capable of implementing the day to day behaviors necessary for improved outcomes. Call (602) 504-1555 or contact us online, and a Nightingale Homecare representative will gladly answer your questions or help you find home care that fits your specific needs.