Your loved one survived cardiac arrest. You are a co-survivor.
You experienced a sudden traumatic event—whether you witnessed your loved one’s cardiac arrest or were far away. You may feel unprepared in a sea of unknowns. Your focus is on the health of your loved one. At the same time, you may be struggling with your own emotions, stress, and extreme levels of responsibility. Heartsight can help with structured resources based on clinical research and the lived experiences of people like you. Heartsight is here to help you reduce the uncertainty throughout your own journey of healing.
What happened to my loved one? What happens in the hospital?
A cardiac arrest is a sudden life-threatening event. When it happens to someone you love, your life changes, too. From the first critical moments through each milestone of their hospitalization, you are their voice, advocate, and support. The content below will help you understand what happened, how treatment may progress, and how you can support their care.
5 Thing To Know
1. As your loved one comes out of a coma, speak slowly and gently to them about who and where they are and what is happening.
2. Be honest with your child about what you do and don’t know. Assure them they are not to blame.
3. Small actions of self-care, like journaling and creating a gratitude list, can make a big difference to your overall well-being.
4. Be receptive to offers of help from others. Keep a list of odd jobs and tasks you need help with.
5. Navigating transitions in you loved one’s hospital journey is difficult. Understanding the roles of different care team members and available resources may help.
Cardiac arrest is unique and represents the heart-brain connection
How do I adjust to this unfamiliar place called a hospital?
What does self-care mean?
What to expect during hospitalization after cardiac arrest
Who might be involved in your loved one’s care?
Catheters, machines, sounds, and teams… ICU 101
Can we save the brain from more injury?
Heartbeat is back but my loved one is still not waking up… When will they?
Confused, aggressive, and restless… Is this expected?
How to tell my loved one what happened?
What do I tell our children?
Did CPR help or hurt my loved one?
How do I understand what’s happening to my loved one during CPR?
I feel terrible and lost. Is that expected?
How and why should I accept help?
How do I make sense of these unfamiliar situations?
How do I prepare for hospital discharge?
Transitions bring new challenges and raise new questions. As you prepare for your loved one’s discharge to home or another care center, the information below will help empower you for your new responsibilities in the next phase of your loved one’s recovery.
5 Things To Know
1. Be CPR-ready. It should be a part of your hospital discharge plan, along with education on devices or medications.
2. Gather the hospital discharge summary, schedule of follow-up appointments, and future care details, including a safety plan for serious situations.
3. It is normal (and expected) for your loved one to experience new physical, emotional, and cognitive issues.
4. Discuss the rehabilitation needs of your loved one with the care team and advocate for them.
5. Check if your loved one needs a defibrillator. Your care team should provide counseling, links to the device company website, and a follow-up clinic appointment.
How to set up follow-up care
What is rehabilitation? Who is it for? Who qualifies?
What is an ICD? Why do I need one?
What are wearable defibrillators?
Your loved one survived cardiac arrest… Now what?
Where do I get trained?
How can I be an effective advocate for my loved one?
What happens when my loved one goes home? What about my own recovery?
Your loved one is coming home! You celebrate how far they’ve come, yet you may feel apprehensive. What does life after cardiac arrest mean for you and your family? Initially, you may be the primary caregiver, helping your loved one to re-engage with friends, activities, and life. As you settle in you may find you are now ready to focus on your own recovery. You survived too. You are a co-survivor. This information will help you navigate your own journey of healing as you move forward.
5 Things To Know
1. Self-care is crucial. You do not need a serious psychological issue to benefit from counseling or therapy.
2. Connecting with your first responders to show gratitude can be healing, but only if you and your loved one are ready.
3. It’s always you and your loved one’s decision whether to go public with your story. Your story, your terms.
4. As your loved one gains independence, you also adjust your role from caregiver to champion to co-survivor and should prioritize self-care.
5. Communication between you and your loved one is key to recovering together and finding you new normal.
Knowing when and how to take action
What does it mean to be a co-survivor?
Will our relationship ever go back to normal?
How do I find a new normal for my child?
How do I cope and find balance?
How do I avoid burnout?
Perspective of a psychologist and mother of an ICU survivor
Where can I find additional resources on mental health?
How do I make that happen? And when is the right time?
How and when do I arrange a “Hospital Care Tour”?
How do I navigate this emotional day?
How can I share my story on my own terms?