With Northeast Ohio as a world-class center for heart health, VNA of Ohio recognizes February as Heart Health Month and offers five tips for making sure homebound patients are doing everything they can to stay heart healthy.
Michelle Kerr, RN, BSN, medical-surgical clinical manager for VNA of Ohio says in addition to the basics of losing weight, giving up smoking, starting an exercise program and eating a balanced diet, homebound patients should follow these tips for heart health:
1. Follow a low-sodium diet. Many homebound patients enjoy the ease of prepared foods which are full of hidden sodium. Kerr recommends limiting the amount of processed, prepared and canned foods and incorporating options such as fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Daily sodium intake should be 1,500 to 2,300 mg per day, which is about a teaspoon of salt.
2. Take medication on time. Medication management is often challenging for homebound patients. Some people don’t like the way their medicines make them feel, or how often they need to go to the restroom. Kerr says to set a timer or post signs in the kitchen or at the bedside as reminders.
3. Know the symptoms of heart attack and heart disease. It’s not always crushing, dramatic pain like in the movies. More common symptoms include nausea, fatigue, sweating, weakness, dizziness, sleeplessness and less severe pain in the shoulders, neck and jaw.
4. Pay attention to the signals your body is sending you. Be aware of a sudden increase in weight, increased swelling, decreased energy and if you have more shortness of breath than usual. Also note if you develop a cough, fast heartbeat, headaches, or dizziness, especially when changing positions. Call your healthcare provider if you notice any of these symptoms. Call 911 immediately if you have a sudden onset of chest pain or you are unable to catch your breath.
5. Get outside help. Managing a heart condition is stressful enough -- give yourself the gift of peace of mind by enlisting the help of a home health care service.
VNA of Ohio provides a wide array of help essential for you and your loved ones to rest-assured your heart condition is properly monitored and managed. From caring for complex medical conditions to assisting with meals and transfers, VNA of Ohio gives you and your loved ones peace of mind when managing a heart condition.
About Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio
Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio is the largest non-profit, community-based healthcare organization in Ohio and has been helping patients for more than 100 years. VNA of Ohio works with hospitals, doctors, community agencies and companies to provide services for patients in their homes including skilled nursing care, hospice, mental health services, occupational, speech-language and physical therapy, chronic disease management and personal care assistance. With more than 500 employees, 100 volunteers and 214,869 patient visits in 24 counties last year, VNA of Ohio provides high-quality, comprehensive home health and hospice care to promote optimal health, independence and dignity of those living in the communities we serve.