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Rural Work Ethic Curbs Elderly Heart Care

sion of their illness. Patients often spoke of how theyve learned to live with, ignore or dont think about their heart conditions.

What this means is, there is a risk of seeking help at too late a juncture, said Clark. But 24 hours can make the difference between successfully controlling heart failure symptoms and having to be hospitalized for a lengthy time, he noted.

The researchers were encouraged that most of the patients and their caregivers were interested in learning more about their illness, and requested information on how better to manage medications, diet, exercise, symptoms and related quality of life issues. Many of them wanted to see their rural community form support groups for chronic illness and management.

Heart failure is the most common reason for hospitalization of seniors in Canada. In addition rural patients are more likely to be hospitalized than their urban counterparts, and due to differences in prescribing, are less likely to get the drugs they need at the right dosages, Clark said.

Preliminary results of the study suggest that support for the rural patients should stress the importance of recognizing symptoms and seeking help earlier from health care professionals, and should harness the strong work ethic evident in the rural population.

The researchers also recommend that rural and urban health care regions continue to find ways to improve rural access to specialist health professionals in heart care, such as physicians, nurses and pharmacists.


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