Will Dad be recovering from heart failure?

6 answers | Last updated: Nov 07, 2016
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My dad is 73 years old and had a stroke three years ago. He has diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure. They put a pacemaker in December 2008. Now he has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. He was in the hospital a month and a half ago, and is back in again.

He was in a regular hospital for one week and now he is in a hospital for acute problems. The doctor said that he will stay there for three more weeks.

Do you think he will be recovering from congestive heart failurer? Or will he be sick like this from now on? Can you give us any advice on the care he'll need once he goes home?

Expert Answers

Dan Tobin, M.D. is the CEO of Care Support of America, a national service providing telephonic and local nurse counsel to adult children caring for aging parents. Dr. Tobin is the author of books and articles focused on the practical and positive aspects of family caregiving.


Recovering from congestive heart failure can go very well and many people get better. The details you can get from his doctor will be the most helpful. Write down three questions you want to ask his doctor and be clear about your concerns.

Ask him/her the exact questions you list above.

Once he comes home it will be important to see how well he can take care of himself. You can get his doctor to request certified homecare which can help send nurses to the house. You are doing a great job withthe questions above so keep going.

All the best,

Dan Tobin



Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

I'm not a doc, first of all. But both of my parents, one living one not, had a variety of heart issues, including many your dad has. If I were a doc, first question back to you is, what do you mean by "recover", that is, what are your expectations. Virtually everything you list can be 'managed' with proper behavioral change and medication. My mother totally disregarded advice to take her meds, have regular checkups,stop smoking,avoid binge eating (and drinking) and manage her stress. Her cardiologist of 20+ years told her, in her last week on earth, that there were no longer surgical miracles he could perform. Straight shooter that he was, he basically said her behavior had caught up with her. She died four years ago of congestive heart failure and emphysema.

My father on the other hand, is the opposite. He's had 2 quad bypasses, 3 carotid surgeries, pacemaker, several strokes leading to vascular dementia, and now ALZ. On meds, and with regular care, he's holding his own nearing 87. Can he do what he did? of course not, but he's got the right attitude. Your dad can recover too - physically, psychologically and emotionally if he takes care of himself and lets others (docs and family) help. But you must also be ruthless in researching his conditions, his drugs and proposed therapies, and be prepared to take on the health care system if you feel something isn't right in his care, or his participation in and response to it.

good luck and hope you have many more years with your dad.

Cattwoman1122 answered...

Prayers for you. I just lost my father to CHF on this past Saturday. He was 85. He also had a triple bypass in the mid-80's and more recently (approx. 2001), underwent pacemaker surgery. Doctors said that he heart was just worn out. It wasn't pumping enough blood from the heart to rest of his body. He battled with pulmonary edema and edema in his lower extremities, specifically his lower extremities "weeping" in order to get rid of the excess fluid in his body. He gave it a good fight. I just checked him into a hospice so that he could be comfortable on a Friday, and he passed the following morning. I miss him terribly, but he is no longer suffering. God bless him! And, God bless you!

Suzyq5558 answered...

Hi cattwoman, my FIL just went to hosptial today with what the home nurse said is heart failure, his legs are swollen and weeping also. i read your post and it makes sense now,i couldnt figure out why he was seeping fluid from his leg. the poor guy is really suffering but refusing hospice, heart failure, end stage renal failure, COPD its just been a nightmare this past year, hes in the hospital every month since Sept. were all tired. dialysis three days a week numerous dr. visits 911 calls it can get quite overwhelming and were also taking care of MIL who has had numerous strokes. but we just plug on day to day hoping we dont get consumed!

Cattwoman1122 answered...

suzyq5558.....God bless you! I feel your pain, concerns and worries. I'm so glad that my previous posting helped you somewhat. What your FIL is going thru sounds almost exactly (minus the dialysis) that my father went thru. As far as moving him to hospice is concerned, I told my dad that I was moving him to where he would be much more comfortable to where some very caring and compassionate people were going to take ver good care of him. He didn't argue with me at all. You could tell he seemed a little unsure, but I reassured him that he and his comfort level were the only two things that concerned me. And, even though he was barely there 24 hours, the staff at hospice made him so much more comfortable, gave him a hot shower and anything he wanted to drink or eat. Once he got all cleaned up and a chocolate shake and some water, he took a nap and found his peace hours later. I miss him terribly, but he is not suffering anymore. My advice to you is to take everything one step at a time, make the best decision(s) that you can with whatever situation arises and pray. Let him know that your concern is for him and let him know that you love him. Time is precious and is even more precious now. I'm praying for you and yours.

Enn1951 answered...

I'm 61 and was hit with CHF caused by hypertension in early February while working in Taiwan. I don't even want to remember my mental and physical condition. I couldn't breathe; my legs wept; my skin scarred easily. My family was ready to come get me, haul me back to the Baltimore area and set me up in a facility for "My final days."

Now it's June. I take 1 Diltiazem and 1 Lasix at 9PM and again at 4:30am. I'm still working. I had difficulty walking to work the first 3 months. I can't walk more than 5 blocks at a time. Of course I gave up SMOKING; I drink 1 beer a day. I don't eat a lot. I expected to be dead, but I'm fine!