Do your loved ones know how to help you during an A-Fib episode? That’s the topic of this email we received from the spouse of an A-Fib patient:
“My husband’s A-Fib is getting worse. When should I call Emergency and/or take him to the hospital? I’m petrified with fear for him. Our doctors say don’t worry unless he shows signs of a heart attack or stroke.”
For your family’s peace of mind, you need to create an ‘A-Fib Action Plan’. During an A-Fib episode, having an action plan is reassuring to you and your loved ones, and helps everyone stay calm.
Your A-Fib Action Plan
To develop your A-Fib Action Plan, you need to team up with your doctor. Discuss the following with your healthcare providers. You should know:
• When to contact your doctor’s office
• Your doctor’s cell number and email address for emergencies
• What symptoms or criteria should send you to the emergency room
• When at the ER, if you should call your doctor
• When at the ER, if your doctor will call and talk with the ER staff
• When you should “just ride out” the episode
• How to recognize the signs of stroke
Write Up and Post Your Plan
Write up the answers to these questions. Add other helpful information, i.e., name of your local Emergency Room, directions, map, and phone numbers, etc. Store the original of your A-Fib Action Plan in your A-Fib binder or folder.
Post a copy in a prominent place your family can find easily. Discuss your A-Fib Action Plan with your loved ones and answer their questions.
Consider: What about your workplace? Should you discuss your Action Plan with your co-workers as well? Should you post a copy at work?
Be Confident & Stay Calm
During an A-Fib attack, an A-Fib Action Plan with specific steps is reassuring and helps everyone stay calm. Your family will be confident they’re supporting you in taking the right action at the right time.
Note: If your doctor is reluctant to develop a specific action plan or your Atrial Fibrillation is getting worse, it may be time to change doctors.
Have a Contribution to Make?
Do you have ideas for other content that should be included in an A-Fib Action Plan? I welcome your input. Send me an email with your thoughts.