Heart Failure in Elderly: Community Health Project

Chronic condition care is crucial to maintaining a proper health state of an individual. Diseases such as asthma, diabetes, arthritis, and many other can obstruct people from performing everyday activities. The elderly population is especially vulnerable to developing chronic conditions. Chronic heart failure is one of the most significant health concerns for the chosen community. The primary aspect of managing such diseases is to minimize symptoms while maintaining a high quality of life. Education on proper medication and other methods that can improve one’s state is a crucial component of this community-based health promotion project. This paper aims to offer a plan, which would help the geriatric population of the US manages chronic heart failure.

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Population

A group of people who are subjected to having chronic illnesses was chosen for this project. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, over 85% of the older population in the US has at least one chronic condition, while 65% have developed two or more. The numbers indicate that geriatric care should focus on teaching people approaches that would help them care for their health issues.

Heart failure is a prevalent cause of hospitalization for individuals over the age of 65. Azad and Lemay (2014) state that such statistics are connected to a risk of cardiovascular failures, which increases with age. Moreover, re-admission rates related to the issue are high as well, although most such occasions are connected to co-morbidities. The prevalence of this chronic condition would increase over the next ten years indicating that proper intervention programs should be created by healthcare professionals (Azad & Lemay, 2014). In addition, female patients are more often diagnosed with heart failure. The age of patients with chronic heart failure implies a high chance of other health issues, which may obstruct proper treatment and lead to severe complications or death.

Mortality and Morbidity

Both acute and chronic heart failure have a large number of possible complications and risk factors, which may lead to adverse health outcomes for a patient. According to Azad and Lemay (2014), chronic heart failure has a mortality rate of 33%. The statistics indicate that chronic heart failure is a severe condition, which requires proper medical intervention. However, once patients are dismissed from a hospital setting, they are responsible for taking care of their health, which may be challenging because of several risk factors.

Non-Adherence to Treatments

The most prominent first risk factor for older people with chronic heart diseases is non-adherence to treatments. Both Azad and Lemay (2014) and the National Institute on Aging indicate that older patients may refuse to take medication after discharge. The primary objective of such actions is a lack of understanding of the importance of the proper treatment. However, pharmacological and non-medication interventions are crucial for improving and managing chronic heart failure. Some procedures may present side effects, which may be a concern for a patient.

Low Psychical Activity

Lack of physical activity is a serious risk factor with chronic heart failure. A study by Klompstra, Jaarsma, and Stromberg (2015) conducted that both male and female participants with chronic heart conditions adhered to physical activity recommendations poorly. However, men showed more physical activity in general when compared to females. Thus, women are at a higher risk of developing complications due to their chronic illness because they are less likely to exercise.

Mental Health

Mental health state and possible cognitive issues should be a concern for medical professionals. According to Díez-Villanueva and Alfonso (2016), the risk factor includes “depression and anxiety, as well as the often unrecognized cognitive impairment and dementia” (p. 115). It may lead to possible complications due to non-adherence to the treatment plan. Additionally, medication overdose can be caused by the problem and lead to adverse outcomes.

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Mental health problems present difficulty in diagnosing other medical conditions. Symptoms may not be recognized by medical professionals in time, leading to severe complications. Azad and Lemay (2014) state that cognitive impairment increases the chances of readmission for geriatric patients with chronic heart failure. This risk factor is especially difficult to mitigate because it requires additional help from medical professionals or community members.

Co-Occurring Conditions

It is necessary to accurately assess the health state of a patient with chronic health failure and identify other diseases, which may complicate the management of one’s condition. According to Díez-Villanueva and Alfonso, (2016), chronic heart failure in an older population usually co-occurs with other health issues, such as “hypertension, atrial fibrillation, peripheral vascular disease, and coronary artery disease, valvular disease and kidney failure or anemia” (p. 115).

It is further complicated by a large number of medications, taken by such patients. The primary factors of concern are obesity and respiratory issues. These components may indicate possible adverse outcomes for patients, and thus should be considered when creating a treatment plan. Azad and Lemay (2014) substantiate the claim by stating that nonvascular conditions often co-occur with chronic heart failure. Thus, it is vital to ensure that the patient is fully aware of his or her health concerns.

Health Promotion Activity

Health education was chosen as the primary objective for this project because it can influence health outcomes for patients. National Institute on Aging argues that providing an adequate amount of knowledge for patients regarding their illness and its management can improve adherence to treatments (“Supporting older patients with chronic conditions,” n.d.). In addition, care providers such as doctors and nurses should be able to answer the population’s questions regarding their condition. Such projects should focus on “enabling individuals to increase control over, and to improve, their health” (“Health promotion programs,” n.d.). Therefore, the objective of this initiative is to mitigate risk factors by encouraging older patients with chronic heart failure to care for their health correctly.

Discussing treatment plans is crucial because it provides an understanding of components that will contribute to improving one’s health state. Older patients can refuse to adhere to their treatment plans because they do not understand the purpose of medication or other procedures (“Supporting older patients with chronic conditions,” n.d.). Additionally, it is necessary to discuss side effects and possible complications to ensure that patents understand the risk fully. Such education can mitigate the risk factor of not adhering to treatment plans.

Cognitive impairment and other mental health issues should be considered in the project as well. The aspect is crucial because it determines the quality of self-care that a patient would be able to provide for himself or herself. Medical professionals should learn whether a particular patient can adhere to treatments to counteract the issue. Additional help from community members or family of an individual can be crucial in such cases.

Psychical activity as a risk factor can be mitigated both through education on its importance and community fitness projects. Promoting daily exercise for patients with chronic heart failure and comorbid issues such as diabetes can enhance their health state. Within this project, medical professionals can provide advice on what types of exercises are required for the condition. Additionally, the community can organize specific groups were older people can engage in physical activity, which would positively affect their health state. Azad and Lemaly (2014) state that controlling weight should be an objective of such patients as well. Thus, the project should provide information regarding the importance of exercising, frequency, and the need to maintain a healthy weight for proper self-management of patients.

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Co-occurring conditions have to be assessed by medical professionals. Thus, the community-based project should encourage patients to contact their health providers and ask questions regarding their state. National Institute on Aging states that individuals often avoid asking additional questions regarding their diagnosis when being admitted to a hospital (“Supporting older patients with chronic conditions,” n.d.). Due to this fact, the project should prepare additional materials regarding the most common comorbid diseases to provide information to patients.

Conclusion

Overall, chronic heart failure affects many people over the age of 75 in the US. The impact of the disease will continue to grow; therefore, a community-based project aimed at improving patient awareness and promoting treatment adherence is necessary. Four primarily risk factors were identified, including co-occurring illness, lack of physical activity, medication avoidance, and mental health. The community-based health project should focus on engaging medical professionals who would provide the necessary self-care information for the patients. Additionally, the initiative can offer fitness classes to ensure that older patients exercise regularly. Finally, the engagement of community members and mental health professionals is required.

References

Azad, N., & Lemay, G. (2014). Management of chronic heart failure in the older population. Journal of Geriatric Cardiology, 11(4), 329-337. Web.

Díez-Villanueva, P., & Alfonso, F. (2016). Heart failure in the elderly. Journal of Geriatric Cardiology, 13(2), 115-117. Web.

Health promotion programs. (n.d.). Web.

Klompstra, L., Jaarsma, T., & Stromberg, A. (2015). Physical activity in patients with heart failure: barriers and motivations with special focus on sex differences. Patient Preference and Adherence, 9, 1603-1610. Web.

Supporting older patients with chronic conditions. (n.d.). Web.

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