ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
Holistic Treatment for Candida Infection
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
Chronic Low Back Pain Is on the Rise
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
CANCER
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Antioxidants Pose No Melanoma Threat
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
CAREGIVING
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
DIABETES
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
DIET, NUTRITION
Blueberry Drink Protects Mice From Obesity, Diabetes
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Milk Destroys Antioxidant Benefits in Blueberries
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gene Explains How High-Fructose Diets Lead to Insulin Resistance
Are Medical Meetings Environmentally Unfriendly?
Chemical in Plastics May Cause Fertility Problems
EYE CARE, VISION
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
When Gauging Age, the Eyes Have It
FITNESS
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Meet Exercise Guidelines
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work
Have Fun But Put Play It Safe on the 4th
Heavy Alcohol Use Linked to Cancer
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
SENIORS
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
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Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers

FRIDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- People with heart failure, and those who care for them, want more attention paid to their psychological needs, a new study finds.

"Heart failure patients and their caretakers suffer in a variety of ways," said Dr. David Bekelman, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, who was to present the study Friday at an American Heart Association meeting in Washington, D.C. "They are interested in palliative care, reducing their suffering and improving their quality of life, and how such care could be provided."

Interviews with 33 people diagnosed with heart failure, which is the progressive loss of the heart's ability to pump blood, and 20 of their caregivers uncovered a desire for the kind of palliative care devoted to reducing suffering that is commonly given to people with cancer, Bekelman said.

"We asked them what was most distressing about having heart failure, and what was most helpful for dealing with the condition," he said. "We asked about symptoms and how they dealt with them, what it is like to live with heart failure, whether they got anxious and worried."

Four major needs emerged from the interviews, Bekelman said. "They need help adjusting to the limitations imposed by heart failure," he said. "They wanted to know what they might expect in terms of progression. They wanted help in alleviating physical and emotional symptoms. And they wanted better communication with medical personnel."

Treatment of heart failure usually focuses on the medical aspects of the condition, Bekelman said. The group he leads is "still looking at understanding the different needs of patients and caregivers," he said. "Some caregivers are open to questioning for planning purposes. Some patients often are not interested in their prognosis."

Bekelman said he hopes to pilot a program to address the different needs of those with heart failure and their caretakers. If he can obtain funding, the program would start "sometime next year," he said.

"It would have a nursing care manager who is competent in cardiac care and trained in community psychosocial care," he said. "There would be regular meetings in which they would talk about the future prospects. The benefits for patients could be better control of some symptoms and better coping with the limitations imposed by heart failure."

A successful program could make financial sense, Bekelman said. "We hope that, because patients and their caregivers would be less distressed, they would be better able to manage at home without medical care visits, so that would reduce costs," he said. "By reducing caregiver distress, it may help caregivers to be more productive at work and understand better how to care for the patient."

Family members who look after people with heart failure are important in the overall picture of medical care, said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center and associate chief of the UCLA Division of Cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

"We recognize that patients who do well have engaged family members," Fonarow said. "They assist in monitoring and frequently in medical follow-up. Caregivers can be critically important because traditional delivery systems might not be adequate."

-Ed Edelson

More information

The Cleveland Clinic has more on heart failure treatment.



SOURCES: David Bekelman, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor, medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver; Gregg Fonarow, M.D., director, Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center, and associate chief, division of cardiology, University of California, Los Angeles; April 24, 2009, American Heart Association 10th Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke, Washington, D.C.

Last Updated: April 24, 2009

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