What is a CHF action plan?

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Every CHF patient should have an action plan for get-ting emergency care quickly in the event of severe symp-toms. The action plan should consist of the following.

Things you’ll need at home:

● Contact information for doctor, hospital, therapists,pharmacists, ambulance, and friends or family whocan help in an emergency. This information shouldbe prominently displayed near the telephone.

● Written directions to the doctor’s office, clinic, orhospital. You may not be able to talk easily, so givingdirections will be difficult.

● Written information on when to call the doctor,under what circumstances, and how frequently

● A schedule of medications and what dosages to takeunder specific circumstances

● A copy of your last EKG

● An accurate bathroom scale

● Know what your normal “dry” weight is and yourcurrent weight is. Your “dry weight” is your weightwhen you’ve been taking your diuretics and you haveno shortness of breath and no hand swelling

● A list of those signs or symptoms that shouldprompt an immediate visit to the doctor’s office

● A list of those signs or symptoms that shouldprompt an immediate call for an ambulance and avisit to the ER

Things you’ll need if you go to the doctor’s office or hospital:

● A complete list of your medications and dosages(prescription and over-the-counter), vitamins, andinoculations, and the prescribing doctor

● A list of any over-the-counter (OTC) medications,cold remedies, herbal cures, homeopathic treatments,teas, or cultural-based treatments such as acupunc-ture, cupping, or coin rolling that you are currentlyundergoing

● All medications or other substances to which youhave known allergic reactions

● If you have them, you should bring copies of yourmost recent EKG or similar tests/reports

● What your normal “dry” weight is and what yourcurrent weight is

● Some cash to spend

● An updated copy of your advance directive, medicalproxy, or medical power of attorney form and organdonation card if applicable

● A description of your medical history, in chronolog-ical sequence (including your use of tobacco, alcohol,or drugs)

● Insurance company cards or at least names and pol-icy numbers

● Names, addresses, and phone numbers of your next-of-kin

This action plan should be developed with the help of your physician, after a full assessment of the following:

● Availability and response times of ambulances

● Availability of friends and family who can drive inan emergency

● Proximity to an ER or doctor’s office

● Availability of relatives or friends who can stay withthe patient until the patient improves or a visit to thedoctor is decided on

After this assessment, you can develop an action plan with your doctor and determine the appropriatetreatment steps for signs and symptoms of respira-tory difficulty, chest pain, or increased leg swelling.Family members and those that are close to you shouldbe informed and participate in this emergency action plan.

 

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