What is Congestive Heart Failure?

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