If someone close to you, whether it is a family member or a friend, has recently received a long term medical diagnosis like heart failure, it goes without saying that it can be upsetting. They will probably need some time to get their head around what they have just been told and to come to terms with how this diagnosis is going to affect the rest of their life.
Understandably, you will want to be there for your loved one as much as possible and you may be wondering how you can support them. Whilst everyone’s situation will be different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to being there for someone with heart failure, hopefully the advice below may help. Our team here at Pumping Marvellous have put together a list of ways you can support a heart failure patient.
Offer a listening ear and don’t tiptoe around the subject
Many people would say that the best way to support someone is to listen to their worries and this is definitely true for heart failure patients. If they want to talk to you about their diagnosis then simply offering a listening ear and not tiptoeing around the subject will really help.
Having open and honest conversations can make a huge difference to the way your loved one is feeling and it is good for them to be able to vent. Encourage them to talk to other important people in their life too, this diagnosis shouldn’t get between close relationships.
Find a good balance between mothering and caring
This can be quite difficult but it is very important to try and do. Whilst you will want to provide support to a heart failure patient and you may be worried about them, if you start to mother them then you can guarantee that it will soon begin to become frustrating.
Try to find a way, maybe with their help, that you can care for them without it being too much. The last thing you want to do is hover over your loved one and treat them like a child. Try to be flexible and be there for them as and when they need you.
Make any required lifestyle changes together
Often, heart failure patients will need to make lifestyle changes to help with their condition and a brilliant way to support them is to make these changes yourself too. Whether this is giving up smoking together or committing to regular exercise together, it can really help.
It goes without saying that doing something with someone else can make it much easier to stick to. Whilst you might not know exactly what your loved one is going through, these changes are something that you will be experiencing together, so they won’t feel completely alone.
Do some research and expand your knowledge
Taking some time to understand heart failure yourself can not only help you get your head around what your loved one is going through but it will also help them too. Knowing what they mean when they’re confiding in you will make a lot of conversations much easier. Pumping Marvellous has a rich amount of information about heart failure.
Thankfully, it is fairly easy to find lots of accurate information about heart failure, especially through charity websites, so try to expand your knowledge in this regard. Also, if your loved one invites you to any hospital appointments, try to take in as much as you possibly can.
Come to terms with how you’re feeling too
Remember that this diagnosis is likely to be a shock to you as well as your loved one, so don’t feel guilty for taking some time to come to terms with how you’re feeling too. It is important that you recognise how you feel and start to manage this correctly.
If you’re unstable then you won’t be able to support yourself let alone a heart failure patient. Reach out to others too if you need to talk and try to build a support network around yourself so if things get too much, you know who you can turn to.
Supporting a heart failure patient
Hopefully, you will now have some ideas of how you can support a heart failure patient during this scary time. Even if they might not say it themselves, you can guarantee that your loved one will be thankful for your support and having people around them at this time will make a big difference. However, remember that you need to take care of yourself too and if you want to speak to someone then there is no shame in this.
When looking for support for a heart failure patient, or for yourself, please visit the Pumping Marvellous website today. As a patient-led heart failure charity, you can trust that we can provide you with any information you need about heart failure or the support that you’re hoping for. The beneficiaries of our charity are all people who suffer from heart failure, together with their family and friends. So, you have come to the right place.