February is American Heart Month, and heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. It’s, therefore, no surprise that a large percentage of hospice …
February is American Heart Month, and heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. It’s, therefore, no surprise that a large percentage of hospice patients are living with heart disease. Even if heart disease is not the primary diagnosis, many terminally ill patients will experience end-stage congestive heart failure. While the primary purpose of American Heart Month is to raise awareness and fund research, Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties would also like to raise awareness of the physical, spiritual and emotional care we provide to patients suffering from end-stage heart failure, as well as their families.
Patients with end-stage congestive heart failure (CHF) and terminal heart disease often make frequent doctor’s office, ER and hospital visits for breathing difficulties, fluid retention and fatigue. In fact, more than one million people in the United States are admitted to inpatient settings for heart failure each year.
One in four Medicare heart failure patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days. Many of these hospital visits could be prevented with the support of hospice care, but cardiac patients and families are often unaware of the hospice support available for CHF patients while at home.
Janice Valentino is the director of marketing and community outreach for Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties, Inc.