Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle weakens from damage or overwork. The heart cannot supply the blood necessary to meet the body’s needs.

Signs and Symptoms of CHF

  • Weight gain, ( 3-5 pounds in a week)
  • Swelling of legs or ankles
  • Shortness of Breathe
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive Urination at night
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Dry cough or wheezing
  • Unable to lie flat at night

Prevention Goals

  • Weigh daily to detect fluid gain
  • Take medication as prescribed
  • Eat a low salt low fat diet
  • Monitor blood pressure daily
  • Avoid stress and fatigue
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco
  • Take pulse rate daily
  • Dress warmly in cold weather
  • Elevate legs often
  • Restrict fluids per Doctor order


  • Abnormal blood pressure
  • Pulse greater than 100 or less than 60
  • Shortness of breathe
  • Swelling of legs or ankles
  • Persistent cough
  • Weight gain of 3-5 pounds in a week

Home care is appropriate for:

  • Recent hospitalization
  • Diagnosis or recent onset of disease
  • Fluctuating or unstable vital signs
  • Orthopnea
  • Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea
  • Increased Fatigue
  • Initiation of new medication regimen
  • Peripheral edema
  • Decreased endurance
  • Activity intolerance
  • Patient requiring dietary/fluid modifications
  • Patient requiring oxygen therapy

Frequent trips to the Emergency Room (three or more per six months) indicate a need for SN to educate the patient about disease process and management

What can home health care do to assist patients with chronic Congestive Heart Failure?

•   Observation and assessment

•   Management and evaluation

•   Energy conservation

•   Compensatory techniques

•   Medication Education

•   Fluid intake

•   Diuretic therapy

•   Disease process education

•   Electrolyte replacement

•   Safety education

•   Ambulation techniques

•   Transfer techniques

•   Weight monitoring

•   Cardiac Assessment

•   Assistance with ADL’s