If the heart is not pumping blood as well as it should, the symptoms can impact quality of life. A big factor in the severity of symptoms is how well one manages the condition. To help people better manage heart failure and prevent some of the problems it can cause, the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation has developed a Shared Decision-Making® program called Living with Heart Failure: Helping Your Heart Day-to-Day.
This program is intended for adults who have heart failure that causes symptoms such as shortness of breath, tiredness and swelling in the legs, feet or abdomen. The program may also help family members or caregivers of people with heart failure. It may not be appropriate for people whose heart failure is caused mainly by disease of the heart valves, or for people on kidney dialysis. It is not appropriate for people at risk of developing heart failure or for those without symptoms.
The program explains what is happening to the heart during heart failure and the possible consequences of fluid buildup in the body. It emphasizes the important role of the individual in preventing those problems, and highlights the daily steps people can take to manage their heart failure, stay out of the hospital and improve their quality of life. These strategies include weighing oneself daily, taking prescribed medications, lowering sodium intake, monitoring changes in symptoms and developing a Symptom Response Plan.
Interviews feature real patients of different ages and lifestyles who found their own ways to effectively manage heart failure and live a fulfilling life. They describe the challenges they’ve faced and strategies that have helped them address those challenges. The program also includes commentary from a cardiologist and a heart failure care manager.
This program was developed with our production partner, Health Dialog. It is available as a DVD, a booklet and a web-based program (Health Crossroads®) for Health Dialog members.