Heart failure is a progressive disease. Over time, your heart function will decline. Some treatments will keep you healthy and feeling well for a long time. But other health concerns may cause your heart failure to make you sick sooner.
It is best for you and your loved ones to make decisions about your treatment before a medical crisis occurs. These are difficult conversations that need to be revisited as your condition changes and after each hospitalization.
Our specialized UPMC in Central Pa. Supportive and Palliative Medicine care team will sit down with you and your caregivers to develop an action plan for your future. They will help you with these questions and help you find answers that respect your values and beliefs:
- What can be done when I am really tired, short of breath, depressed, in pain, or have a decreased appetite?
- What are some of my treatment options?
- What is the best to hope for?
- What is the worst that I might face?
- How do I have this conversation with my family or close friends?
- How do I share my decisions with the rest of my health care team?
- Can I refuse treatment?
- What do I need to decide about ventilators?
- Should I have cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)?
- What are advanced planning, living wills and Pennsylvania Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) forms?
- What's the difference between supportive care and hospice care?
The best plan is to meet with this team early. Your heart failure nurse navigator, heart failure nurse practitioner or your health care doctor can put you in touch with the team. You can make an appointment on your own if your insurance coverage allows.
Need more information?
Learn more about the Heart Failure Program.
Learn more about Supportive Care and Palliative Medicine.
UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
360 Alexander Spring Road
Carlisle, PA 17013
Adult Cardiology: 717-243-6557
Pediatric Cardiology: 717-761-0200