Healing the Heart – Reflections of a Cardiac Unit Nurse in the Wake of World Heart Day
Cardiovascular disease is becoming a healthcare crisis and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in every part of the world. It affects individuals from nearly all countries, backgrounds, ages, gender and races.
The most significant role of nurses as caregivers in preventing cardiovascular morbidity, is to prepare clients for self-care. Effective teaching by a cardiac nurse has demonstrated increased inpatient satisfaction, improved quality of life, ensured continuity of care and decreased patient anxiety in the post-discharge phase. It has also effectively reduced complications of illness and recurrence of disease. Furthermore, it has maximized independence in the performance of activities of daily living and has empowered patients to become actively involved in the discharge planning.
Expert nursing care is essential for patient care in the rehabilitation of the client. It is the nurse who spends most of the time with the patients and their families. The cardiac nurse provides the type of care that allows patients and families to make them prepare for home care setting.
The responsibility of a cardiac nurse in the care of a patient includes offering emotional support, extending communication with the family, enabling effective post care which focuses on hygiene and wound care, dietary guidelines, rehabilitation, medication compliance, regular follow-ups and lifestyle modifications.
They also encourage caregivers to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the periods of caregiver burden, as well as during hospitalization. By listening to their concerns, nurses can make a difference in the ability of a client to move towards their life goals, such as appreciation of a significant relationship, acceptance of change, and development of new life patterns and relationships.
The role of the family is also considered as one of the key variables influencing positive patient care outcomes. The primary motives in patient education for involving family members in the care delivery and decision making process are to decrease the stress of hospitalization, reduce cost of care and effectively prepare the client for self-care management later on outside the healthcare setting.
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