ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Maggots as Good as Gel in Leg Ulcer Treatments
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
New Clues to How Fish Oils Help Arthritis Patients
CANCER
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Critically Ill Patients Lack Vitamin D
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
Falls Are Top Cause of Injury, Death Among Elderly
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
DIABETES
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Herb Shows Potential for Rheumatoid Arthriti
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Clear Skies Have Become Less So Over Time, Data Show
Hypertension May Hit Black Males Earlier
Fish in U.S. Rivers Tainted With Common Medications
EYE CARE, VISION
Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders
FITNESS
Antioxidants Blunt Exercise Benefit, Study Shows
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Vigorous Treadmill Workout Curbs Appetite Hormones
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Toxins May Form When Skin, Indoor Ozone Meet
Autumn Chores Often Hazardous
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Coffee Is Generally Heart-Friendly
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
SENIORS
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
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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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