Caring for a Heart Surgery Patient

DoctorIs a family member going to undergo any heart surgery procedure soon? Chances are, you are as much — or even more — concerned or anxious as they are. It can seem pretty scary, but showing your loved one that you’re always there for them will lighten things up.

Here are a few things you can do to care for the patient.

Before the Surgery

Days before the surgery, help the patient be in their best condition. Ask the doctor if certain food or medication should be avoided. Avoid cigarettes and alcohol. Ensure that the patient gets enough rest and consumes a suitable diet.

Also, consider emotional assurance, as a patient can be scared or in a constant state of anxiety. Knowing that the doctors have done the same procedure over and over again in the surgical theatre is sometimes not enough. Support the patient by assuring them that you will be there all throughout this phase in their life.

The patient will probably be admitted the afternoon before their surgery. During this time, the medical team will visit the patient to discuss the operation. Patients can become more anxious, knowing that the procedure is getting close. It might be of help to build a friendly rapport with the doctors and nurses to let the patient know that they will be in good hands, Be Heart Strong advises.

During the Surgery

Secure the patient’s belongings: take any accessories, glasses, or dentures. An hour before the surgery, the patient will be administered drugs that will cause a deep sleep. The heart surgery procedure, depending on the complexity of the operation, may last up to five hours.

While the operation is happening, it is best to attend to other family members accompanying you. Ask if they are okay, or if they need anything.


Right after surgery, the patient will have to stay in the intensive care unit (ICU); some will even have to stay in a cardiac intensive care unit (CICU). Depending on the recovery rate of the patient, they will be able to leave between 18 to 24 hours and stay in the hospital for four to six days.

Once discharged, take care that the patient does not engage in any demanding activity. Their first visit with their doctor will be within six weeks. See to it that the patient is eating, drinking, and resting well. Assist them for a 5-minute walk twice or thrice daily, depending on their strength. If there is anything peculiar, write them down so you don’t forget to ask about them to the doctor.

Most of all, always keep them company and talk to them if they can. Genuine love and care is the best medicine we can give to the people who are important to us.