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Deterioration in Health

This page offers some thoughts, resources and other links that look at what happens when changes occur in our health. Both emotional impacts and physical aspects are discussed. Change and loss are a part of life. Hearing news that things won’t get better, or that no further inventions can be made, can be really tough. Taking in this news may take time, so it can be important to try and be gentle with ourselves

Coming to terms with change and loss often involves a type of grieving process. Many feelings can come and go across time, such as sadness, fearfulness, anger and frustration. Remember that people do find ways to embrace these challenges and carry on living rewarding and satisfying lives.

In Dealing with Deterioration in Health, Sarah Barker, one of our volunteers, offers her thoughts about ways of coping with the emotional impact of when things don't get better.

Finding ways to adapt to changes such as, not being able to carry out every day activities as easily as before, manage increased physical symptoms, emotional distress or adjustment to the possibility of needing more care and support, can be really hard. You can read about some of our member’s experience of getting older and dealing with these challenges in Facing the Future.

Some people find developing Mindfulness skills can be really helpful in managing pain, uncomfortable physical symptoms and associated feelings. Find out more in this pdf: So what is mindfulness?

The Imparts Team (Psychology Service at Kings College Hospital) also have some suggestions in their pdf’s Living with Health Problems and Making the Most of Life.

Some things that might be helpful to think about are:

Keeping in touch with others. Some people have a tendency to withdraw when going through hard times or if feeling down. Try to keep talking to loved ones about the effects of changes. Sometimes it helps to talk with someone outside of family and friends. Find out what other agencies can offer in help and support.

Get help. Your GP should be able to help with putting you in contact with local services.  At some point you might want to consider referral to an Occupational Therapy Service and contacting Social Services to request a Community Care Assessment and/or a Carers Assessment. See also our page for Carers.

Management of ongoing symptoms. Speak with your GUCH Cardiologist or Cardiac Liaison Nurse as they might be able to offer specific advice.

Here are some other places where you can get more information about dealing with any ongoing symptoms you might be experiencing.

The Expert Patients Programme offers a six week course for anyone living with a long term condition. The programme aims to provide support and develop self-confidence. To find out if there is a course in your area telephone: 0800 988 5550.

If you are living with heart failure The British Heart Foundation have a comprehensive self-help booklet An everyday Guide to Living with Heart Failure.

The Pulmonary Hypertension Association has lots of useful information and self help resources on their website.

The Arrhythmia Alliance have information on heart rhythm disorders. Helpline: 01789 450 787


If you would talk more about how health changes might be affecting you or your loved ones please contact Anne Crump, Mental Health Support Worker at The Somerville Foundation.

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