All About Caregivers

Cardiovascular Surgery of Southern Nevada:

How to Care for a Loved One After Heart Surgery

Open heart surgery affects more than just the patient, and the recovery process is a collaborative effort between patient, caregivers, and loved ones. Caregivers in particular (whether professional or a loved one acting as a caregiver) play a vital role in the recovery process. The tips below will help you be the best caregiver possible for your loved during their heart surgery recovery time.

1. Don’t forget to take care of yourself.

It’s easy to overlook this, but it’s important to remember to take care of yourself, as you need your strength and rest to be able to adequately care for someone else.

2. Share your feelings or concerns.

It’s perfectly normal for you to struggle with feelings of anger or depression. Don’t bottle them up. It’s understandable that you might want to remain strong for your loved one, but consider discussing your feelings with a different family member or friend if you are having difficulty coping.

3. Help ensure accurate communication

Designate a single friend or family member to be in charge of maintaining communications with the heart surgeon and the rest of the medical team. This way there is less risk of a mixup, and everyone can stay on the same page.

4. Minimize the risk of illness.

If you’re sick, it’s best for you to try to limit your visits to the hospital floor. Heart surgery patients are more susceptible to infection and illness while they are recovering, so keep this in mind when you are visiting.

5. Encourage exercise.

If the heart surgeon says it’s OK, encourage your loved one to exercise during their recovery. Exercising together can be a great way to support your loved one while getting some physical activity yourself.

6. Find support.

Sometimes it helps to talk to others who have been in your situation. It might be a good idea to consider joining a support group meant for those who have experienced (or are experiencing) what you are going through.

Gregg Greenberg