People with heart diseases can live a full life, but they need social support as the disease progresses. Hence, social determinants can affect the health outcome for a heart patient. With the publication of two scientific statements in its flagship journal Circulation, the American Heart Association pointed out the necessity of taking into account a patient’s social determinants when devising his/her treatment. This includes their socio-economic status, living environment, as well as the concerns of unpaid family caregivers.
Heart disease is a progressive condition in which the heart does not pump blood efficiently. To lead a full life, they need a lifestyle change, medication, and social support. As the disease progresses, the role of caregivers becomes even more crucial. Caregivers are needed to help an individual manage their day-to-day living or complex medical treatment. Multiple issues like insurance status, disability status, race, ethnicity, county of residence, social, and personal factors can decide an individual’s access to state-of-the-art care facilities in the event of heart failure.
Caregiving, so crucial as the disease progresses is also becoming increasingly complex and challenging. The article points out the emotional, physical, and financial toll that this role can take. To address these non-medical barriers, the article advocates coordinated effort by interprofessional health care teams that can work together to support not just patients, but also their unpaid caregivers.
Apart from easier access to insurance and affordable housing, these measures also include nurse-led collaborative clinics, provision of expensive drugs, partnering with food banks, and the dissemination of information tailored to meet an individual’s level of education and language.