Caring for a spouse with end-stage heart failure through implantation of a left ventricular assist device as destination therapy

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Abstract

Objectives: This qualitative study describes the experiences of spousal caregivers of a patient with end-stage heart failure (HF) from pre-LVAD to post-LVAD-DT implantation. Background: LVAD-DTs are implanted as permanent devices for end-stage HF patients with the goal of improving the length and quality of life. LVADs create new demands for both patients and caregivers. Methods: In-depth, semi-structured interviews of 10 spousal caregivers were thematically analyzed. Results: Throughout the process of caregiving, pre-implant through post-implant, all caregivers discussed their ability to adapt within the role as a caregiver. Adaptation as a caregiver occurred through three distinct time frames following the progression of the patient's HF and subsequent LVAD implantation: caring for a spouse with HF, decision for LVAD implantation made, and caring for a spouse with the LVAD-DT. Conclusions: Caregivers were able to adapt and develop effective strategies to incorporate the demands of caring for a spouse with an LVAD-DT, but the role remained challenging. The findings underscore the need for continued research that may be translated into effective interventions to support patient and caregivers as they live through this end-of-life trajectory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-201
Number of pages7
JournalHeart and Lung: Journal of Acute and Critical Care
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2013

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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