February is American Heart Month when the country raises awareness about the No. 1 killer — heart disease.
Despite the impact of Coronavirus, heart disease continues to be the greatest health threat to Americans and is still the leading cause of death worldwide according to the American Heart Association’s Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics.
1 out of 6 patients or roughly 15% of all hospice patients had a primary diagnosis of heart disease
Understandably the goal of Heart Month is to prevent heart disease, but what if a loved one is has already suffered from one or more heart attacks or strokes? What if their quality of life has greatly declined and they are heavily dependent on care from others? How do you know when it’s time for hospice?
Considering the unpredictable nature of heart disease and the fact that symptoms can vary with each person it’s often challenging to determine when might be the right time for hospice.
It may be time to consider hospice if the patient:
- Has advanced congestive heart failure
- Has advanced coronary disease, with frequent angina episodes
- Suffers from symptoms such as chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, and/or edema
- May have changes in activities of daily living, including mobility issues
- May have had several trips to the emergency room or changes in medications
- Has decided not to pursue additional treatments
- Has prognosis of 6 months or less if disease takes its normal course
Knowing what to expect at the end of life can help when navigating the practical issues and emotional road ahead. Kindful Hospice provides comfort and support to heart and stroke patients and their families, with a focus on quality of life. Heart disease affects hundreds of thousands of patients and families every year, accounting for about 836,550 deaths in the U.S.