Caring for a friend or family member after a heart attack is no light task. While they may have received lots of directions from their cardiologist, it’s not always easy to be the caretaker who helps them see it through. We know that a heart attack is scary for more than just the patient so it’s important for close friends and family to have the support they need as well. If you’re helping someone recuperate post-cardiac emergency, here are a few tips for you.
#1- Educate Yourself on Recovery
Before the person is even discharged and sent home, make sure you have a firm understanding of their needs. If they agree to it, ask to join them during the discharge process so you can understand the cardiologist’s orders. Ask questions, take notes, and don’t be afraid to find out as much as you can. Some questions about caring for someone who had a heart attack may include lifestyle changes, risk reduction, and what is and is not appropriate stress. Also, be aware of heart attack symptoms to help reduce the risk of recurring issue.
#2- Provide and Ask For Emotional Support
Any cardiac event, especially a heart attack or stroke can be jarring. Being at risk of losing a loved one or being the loved one is ill has an emotional cost. After a heart attack, it’s important to recovery that stress be handled in a healthy way. Talk with the person about how they are coping, be flexible and encourage them to offer help. If you are worried about being able to provide for all their needs, don’t be afraid to ask for support from friends, family, and your doctor. Many hospitals offer support groups for heart attack survivors and their families. This is a great way to work through the difficult emotions.
#3- Look After Yourself
Putting your loved one first at all times is no way to live. Try to take time for yourself by taking regular breaks from their care. Give yourself time to unwind and relax and it will improve the well-being of yourself and the person in your care. Share the load where you can to help reduce the effects of this traumatic event on yourself.
If you are caring for a Central Georgia Heart Center patient, remember that they can always use the patient portal to contact their cardiologist for any questions. Our patients and their families are our number one priority.