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CARE

Five tips to care for a loved one after a heart attack

Helping a friend or family member as they recover from a heart attack is an important albeit tough job. I know this personally—not only from my work as a nurse, but also from taking care of my grandfather who underwent a quadruple coronary artery bypass and spent several weeks in the hospital. In fact, it was that experience that led me to my future career as a nurse.

Below are five simple steps you can take to help your loved one recover quickly and make the job a bit easier on you.

  1. Encourage activity daily. Help your loved one take short, frequent walks around the house and eventually build up to longer, more intense workouts.
  2. Eat healthy. Add more fruits and vegetables to meals and reduce sodium and fat. You don’t need to cook a special meal for your loved one as small changes to recipes and can make a big difference.  Also, remove “temptation” foods from the home.
  3. Follow the discharge instructions from the hospital. It’s very important to keep follow-up appointments with your loved one’s physicians and care team. Ask questions and know who to call with questions. Make sure you understand the medications and reasons why they have been prescribed, dosage, timing and any side effects your loved one may experience.
  4. Stay positive and upbeat, but also allow your loved one time to talk about their fears and worries.
  5. Take care of yourself. You most likely have other responsibilities and are probably being pulled in multiple directions. Accept help as people often want to help. Be specific and ask them to make a meal, pick up groceries, stay with your loved one if you need to be away or other tasks to help lighten your load.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

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