Cardiovascular disease is common among older persons and is common in residents or patients in long-term care facilities. Chronic cardiovascular disease may lead to heart attacks. A heart attack is also known as a myocardial infarction and is caused when part of the heart is not receiving enough oxygen. There are many factors or reasons why this can happen, and it is usually because the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart is blocked, most often by a buildup of fat and cholesterol or a blood clot. When the blood flow to the heart is blocked, part of the heart can be damaged or destroyed.
The first step to treating a patient or resident for a heart attack is realizing that he/she is actually having a heart attack. Some of the common signs of a heart attack are
chest pain or pressure, such as squeezing or achiness
feeling nauseous or throwing up/vomiting
looking very pale
breaking out in a cold sweat
pain in back, shoulders, arms, neck, or jaw
feeling short of breath
While working in healthcare, nursing assistants must follow the procedures for each facility. However, some basic procedures for caring for someone who is experiencing symptoms of a heart attack are the following:
pull the emergency light/bell or call for help loudly
remain calm and stay with the resident or patient
put the resident or patient in a comfortable position – maybe lying down instead of sitting – and keep him/her warm
check vital signs and conditions of patient or residents while waiting for the nurse
If the patient or resident stopped breathing and does not have a heartbeat, you should be prepared to begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).