Let’s start with the basics. Understanding the illness of the person in your care is an important part of caregiving. It can help you to better understand the experience of the person and prepare for the future. So, what exactly is heart failure? Click here to visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada’s Heart failure webpage.
Caregivers sometimes find it difficult to know what warning signs or red flags to look for in the person they are caring for. Click here for a very useful resource from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and British Columbia’s Heart Failure Network that clearly describes the green, yellow, and red Heart Failure Zones.
The green zone is called “The Safe Zone”
- If the person in your care is in the green zone, their symptoms are under control.
The yellow zone is called “The Caution Zone”
- If the person in your care has any of the symptoms in the yellow zone, the person’s health care provider should be contacted.
The red zone is the called “The Danger Zone”
- If the person in your care has any of the symptoms in the red zone, this is an emergency.
Consider printing this form for you and the person in your care to refer to.
You may be wondering, “If only there was a how-to guide all about heart failure…” Well, there is! The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada has published the comprehensive guide called Living with Heart Failure: Resources to help you manage your heart failure. This guide is filled with information about all things heart failure including diet, activity, medication, and mental health. And guess what? Pages 67 and 68 are dedicated to you, the caregiver!
Another challenge for caregivers is managing medication. Click here to view the Heart and Stoke Foundation of Canada’s Managing your medications webpage. There are tips for managing medications related to heart failure along with a helpful Medication list form you can print and fill out with the person in your care. This form should be kept in a safe place and easily accessible in the event of an emergency. It is also a good idea to keep this form up to date and bring it to any medical appointments.
Caring for someone with heart failure may come with its challenges, but there are resources available to help!
Please note that this article is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice.