Tips for Family and Friends
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Introduction - Tips for Family and Friends on Heart Failure

Most people do not live in isolation and are strongly affected by the people around them. Therefore, family members and friends can play an important role in supporting a person with heart failure and helping him or her live as well as possible with the disease. This module is for the family and friends of patients with advanced/severe heart failure, that is, patients who require help with day-to-day activities.

Many patients with heart failure continue to lead normal active lives and will not become sicker or disabled. See Module 4 on Self-Care for information for patients diagnosed with heart failure who continue to enjoy a normal active lifestyle.

In general, you can best provide support by learning about heart failure and the patient's treatment plan. Family and friends can be particularly effective in watching for changes in symptoms and in helping a person with heart failure stay on a low-sodium diet and increase his or her physical activity. But because each person is an individual and has differing goals, needs, and abilities, communication about how you can best provide support is important.

This module will focus on specific things that family members and friends can do to help a person with heart failure. It may be helpful to have the other modules in this series nearby for reference as you read this module.

This module will provide information on how family and friends can help a person with advanced/severe heart failure:

  • Recognize changes in symptoms.
  • Follow a low-sodium diet.
  • Become more active.
  • Remain independent but safe.

It will help family and friends learn:

  • Why support is a vital part of a heart failure treatment plan.
  • How to increase the overall level of support the person with heart failure receives.
  • How to promote good self-care behaviors.

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