heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Heart failure resources for patients

Educate your patients on everything they need to know about heart failure and managing their condition

Key takeaways

  • Healthcare professionals play an important role in supporting their patients with heart failure to participate in self-management.  
  • We have developed a range of resources for your patients to help them understand heart failure and what they can do to manage their condition.  

Heart failure is a complex clinical syndrome with typical symptoms and signs that generally occur on exertion but can also occur at rest (particularly when lying down). Heart failure occurs secondary to an abnormality of cardiac structure or function, and impairs the ability of the heart to pump blood around the body.  

We have developed resources for your patients with heart failure, including our heart failure video series, a Living Well with Heart Failure booklet, and our series of Action Plans. We have also created resources for patients in collaboration with NPS MedicineWise.   

VIDEO SERIES: Understanding heart failure   

This series of short videos helps patients better understand a range of topics related to heart failure such as:   

  • What is heart failure 
  • Medicines for heart failure  
  • What to do when you feel sick  
  • Mental and emotional health  
  • How does heart failure make you feel  
  • Things to do to make you feel better 
  • Heart failure and physical activity  
Watch the videos

BOOKLET: Living Well with Heart Failure 

The Living Well with Heart Failure booklet contains information for patients about what heart failure is, how it feels, what to do if they are feeling sick, and an emergency plan in case symptoms get worse.  

Order copies of the booklet for your practice | Download a copy of the booklet  

You may like to use some plans from the Living Well with Heart Failure booklet when seeing a patient with heart failure.  
  • My fluid plan. Fluid intake plays a role in heart failure management, but it can be hard for some patients to keep track. Patients should be advised if they put weight on quickly (more than 2kg in two days), they should speak to their doctor, nurse or health worker.  
  • Things you can do to feel better. This list summarises the steps patients can take to manage their heart failure and identifies when they need to take action if they are not feeling well.  
  • My medicines. Fill out the table with your patient so they can remember when to take their medicines, what their medicines are for, and how they should take them.  
  • Things to do every day. This action plan summarises the key things patients can do each day to feel well.  
  • My emergency plan. This action plan encourages patients to call their doctor, nurse or health worker within 24 hours if they experience certain symptoms. 
  • Warning signs of a heart attack. This flow chart helps patients to recognise the symptoms of a heart attack and know when to call Triple Zero (000).  

Exercise and cardiac rehabilitation 

Exercise is recommended in our heart failure clinical guidelines as an effective intervention for patients with stable chronic heart failure; particularly those with reduced left ventricular ejection fraction.  

Evidence has found regular moderate-intensity exercise can improve physical health and quality of life and can decrease hospitalisation (GRADE Recommendation strength: strong. Quality of evidence: high). Patients with heart failure can begin exercising as soon as they are clinically stable.  

Exercise training is a component of cardiac rehabilitation programs. Patients with a new diagnosis of heart failure, or if they experience a change in their heart failure condition, should be referred to cardiac rehabilitation.  

See our cardiac services directory to find a cardiac rehabilitation service for your patient. You can also provide them with our cardiac rehabilitation booklet.  

You can encourage patients to be more physically active:  

Helpline (13 11 12)  

Our Helpline is a free telephone service providing information, guidance and support to help people improve their heart health. Every call is answered by a qualified health professional and callers can discuss anything related to cardiovascular disease. The Helpline operates from 8.30am to 5.30pm Australian Central Standard Time, Monday to Friday, except public holidays.  

NPS MedicineWise Collaboration  

NPS MedicineWise, in collaboration with the Heart Foundation, has also developed a range of heart failure resources for patients. These include an action plan to help patients identify the most important parts of their heart failure self-management, and a fact sheet providing information about heart failure, what it means for daily life, and five questions to ask GPs. There are also resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.  

You can also tell your patients about the NPS MedicineWise app which they can use to keep track of their medicines and access important health information.  

Read more   

Additional plans and resources  

Last reviewed on 21/05/2021

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