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Bob's story (Carer - Heart Failure)

Couple on a benchBob (83) phoned the Advice Line about his 84 year old wife Dot who has heart failure. He told the nurse that he is Dot’s carer and he would do anything for her, but he was feeling very tired a lot of the time and has had a few problems with his own health. Bob said they had never had a family so he had no-one to ask for help around the house.

He wasn't sure how to help keep Dot well, and she hated having to go into hospital. Dot was rarely well enough to go out, so they were both feeling quite isolated at home. Bob was worried that the bills were going up and winter was coming, as he wanted to keep the house warm for Dot.

The Advice Line nurse explained about the importance of controlling Dot’s heart failure symptoms by encouraging her to weigh herself daily, eat less salt, keep as active as possible, and report any changes to her GP. She discussed Dot’s medications with Bob and checked that they had both had their flu jabs. The nurse sent them the CHSS Traffic Lights for Heart Failure information leaflet, Living with Heart Failure (PDF) booklet and salt (PDF) and Understanding help in the community (PDF) factsheets. She also sent some information about chair exercises for Dot. To support the couple and help them to feel less isolated, the nurse referred Dot to heart failure support service to be matched with a befriender, and signposted Bob to his local carers centre. Bob was also signposted to other organisations for advice about winter fuel and cold weather payments and adaptations to make his home easier to heat.