Heart failure

What carers think

We talked to some of the husbands and wives of people with heart failure. They talked about the changes they had noticed in their partner and the ways in which heart failure had affected them. 

A woman whose husband had had a stroke and heart attack within two months of each other, described how his illness had affected their two grown up children. She felt that their daughter was practical and down-to-earth from the beginning, but that her son had found it hard to cope with the implications of his father's illness. She said that her husband got upset if she went anywhere without him because he was frightened something would happen to her. One of her friends told her that she should think about herself more and insist on leaving him on his own, but she didn't like doing it. She was told by her daughter not to wait hand and foot on her husband because it would make him less independent. She described how she had changed since her husband's illness from being a negative person to someone who looked at things more positively and wanted to get on with life.

A man whose wife had had a heart attack followed by bypass surgery said that he had needed support and help from medical staff in the community when he first brought his wife home from hospital because she was still in pain. He thought there should be an organised system of follow-up care at home for people like his wife. He still felt anxious about his wife's health and whether she would collapse while he was out walking the dogs and said that some kind of psychological back-up would be very helpful. He described how he needed to meet and talk to others, but he was aware that his wife found it difficult to leave the house and so could become isolated. As a retired hydraulics engineer he felt he understood his wife's heart condition and the implications of it, and tried to face it pragmatically.
A woman whose husband had been ill for many years with cancer, diabetes and heart failure, said that he no longer talked to her very much. She felt his personality had changed and she didn't know why. She couldn't understand why he was so laid back about his illness and said he didn't seem to worry about anything anymore especially what was going to happen to him in the future. Because she was disabled she needed to know how they were going to manage, but he seemed unresponsive to her and her anxiety.


Last reviewed April 2016.
Last updated April 2016.


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