Manage your Chronic Heart Failure with help from Griffin Hospital

Manage your CHF with help from Griffin Hospital

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) can be a debilitating chronic illness if it's not managed correctly or consistently. 

The CHF Prescription for Wellness Program is part of the Griffin Hospital’s Center for Prevention and Lifestyle Management, which offers health education, support and coaching to help prevent and manage chronic diseases and take active steps to increase vitality.

What is The CHF Prescription for Wellness Program? Griffin Hospital’s free CHF Prescription for Wellness Program helps those with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) stay well by giving them a better understanding their condition and by equipping them with skills and strategies to stay healthy and avoid preventable hospital admissions. Our staff will provide you and your family with all of the necessary tools and information to help you maintain your best level of health.

Benefits of the CHF Prescription for Wellness Program Our highly trained and experienced registered nurses work closely with your physician, providing updates, if necessary, after each visit and collaborating with your physician to decide the best course of action to help you maintain your health. We provide free weekly health screenings, personalizing your care to meet your needs, and helping you achieve your individual health goals.

Prescription for Wellness and other CHF resources

Learn more about the CHF Prescription for Wellness Program or call to make your appointment today. 203-732-7200

Additional CHF resources at Griffin Hospital

• Cardiac Rehab/Fitness Center
• Pharmacy
• Social Worker
• Health Resource Center
• Dietary
• Spiritual Care

CHF: What you should know

What is CHF? 

CHF, or Congestive Heart Failure, is a condition where the heart cannot pump the blood well.  As a result, the blood doesn’t flow well. Fluid leaks out of your blood vessels and backs up in the lungs and legs causing edema (excessive swelling). 

Do you have CHF?  

Answer the questions below with a yes or no if the symptom is not getting better and is not a part of the normal aging process. 

  1. Do you have swelling in your ankles or shins that is evident when the skin is pressed with your finger?
  2. Do you have swelling in your knee area that is evident when the skin is pressed with your finger?
  3. Do you experience shortness of breath when walking quickly?
  4. Is there shortness of breath while at rest? 
  5. Do you feel that you need 2 or more pillows to avoid shortness of breath? 
  6. Do you have to sleep upright to avoid shortness of breath? 
  7. Do you gain 3 or more pounds in one day or 5 or more pounds in a week? 

If you said YES to one or more of the above questions, please contact and be examined by your
Primary Care Physician Or Heart Specialist

What are the Signs & Symptoms of CHF?

No one sign or symptom indicates CHF but if you have any of these signs or symptoms, be sure to be examined by your physician and discuss your concerns. 

  • Chronic swelling in your ankles or shins that is evident when the skin is pressed with your finger
  • Swelling in your knee area that is evident when the skin is pressed with your finger?
  • Chronic shortness of breath when walking quickly
  • Shortness of breath while at rest? 
  • 2 or more pillows needed to avoid shortness of breath? 
  • Having to sleep upright to avoid shortness of breath? 
  • Do you gain 3 or more pounds in one day or 5 or more pounds in a week? 

During your stay with us at Griffin Hospital, we will help you by 

  • Giving medication so you can better control your fluid retention. 
  • Helping you to be more physically active by working with our Physical Therapy Department if ordered by your physician. 
  • Helping you manage symptoms and referring you to the CHF Wellness Clinic
  • Preventing complications by teaching you what to avoid (such as salt and weight gain)
  • Preventing the condition from getting worse by taking your medicines as ordered and following your after-hospital care plan. 

How Do I Take Care of Myself? 

CHF CANNOT BE CURED, but it can be managed effectively. Taking good care of yourself is the best way to slow the progress of the disease. Maximize your heart health to encourage better blood flow and minimize fluid retention through exercise and diet modifications.

Diet and Nutrition

  • Eat a healthy diet with low salt.  Excessive salt in the body holds on to fluids and causes swelling and high blood pressure. Limiting and reducing salt intake can significantly decrease your swelling and reduce your blood pressure. Check with your nurse or dietician for further instructions. 
  • Unfortunately, many foods we routinely buy and eat have high salt content.  With the help of a trained Dietitian, you’ll discover what is actually in the food you’re currently eating throughout the week and learn how to avoid items that may sound notorious and taste great but are actually very dangerous to you due to their salt content.  

Griffin Hospital offers diet and nutrition consultations with registered dietitians who can discuss your medical needs and help you determine the best food and nutrition plan for you. Learn more and schedule your appointment today. 

Activity and Exercise

Exercise will: 

  • Help your heart pump the blood your body needs to keep your circulation moving. 
  • Decrease your swelling.
  • Make you feel better. 

Griffin Hospital offers medically supervised fitness programs. Learn more about the Wellness for Life Program and schedule and appointment to speak with an Exercise Physiologist today.

Medication Management: 

If you are diagnosed with and being treated for CHF, you’ll be prescribed a fluid pill. You need to take these fluid pills exactly as prescribed and monitor your weight and swelling, reporting fluctuations to your doctor.  Fluctuations may require an adjustment in your medication. 

Weight Management: 

Because CHF can cause sudden weight gain due to fluid build-up, you’ll be asked to:

  • monitor your weight daily and check for swelling. 
  • Swelling can mean you have more fluid: 
  • To check for swelling – you only need to check one leg. 
  • Press firmly into the skin of your knee, shin and ankle with your finger. 
  • If your finger makes a pit or depression in your skin, you have swelling in that part of your leg. 

TO DO list for CHF: 

  • Check for swelling each morning
  • Check around your knee
  • Check around your shin
  • Check around your ankle
  • Stop Smoking if you’re a smoker 
  • Reduce your alcohol intake. 

Smoking and drinking make your heart work harder and this makes your heart weaker which makes all of your CHF symptoms worse.

Keep Track of Your Results:

If you have CHF, you should have a chart that you are using to track your daily swelling tests. If swelling reaches your knees, call your doctor. 

Prevent your CHF Symptoms from Getting Worse

  • Check the salt content of everything that you eat and drink. 
  • Talk to your doctor about what exercise is good for you. 
  • Walking is good exercise
  • Do what you enjoy like gardening, shopping, walking the dog and playing with the kids. 
  • If you feel tired, stop and rest
  • Schedule a nap or rest every afternoon. 
  • When the weather is very hot or cold, do not go out as much
  • Quit smoking.