A picture is worth a thousand words: exploring the roles of caregivers and the home environment of ventricular assist device patients.
- OXFORD UNIV PRESS
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs, 2021, 20, (8), pp. 782-791
- Issue Date:
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AIMS: Caregivers of persons living with ventricular assist devices (VADs) are integrally involved in both medical and non-medical care. We sought to understand tasks caregivers perform after surgical recovery, ways the home is adapted for those tasks, and presence of home safety hazards. METHODS AND RESULTS: We conducted semi-structured interviews with persons living with a VAD and their caregivers. Pictures were taken of areas in the home where: (i) caregiving activities occurred, (ii) VAD or medical supplies were kept, and (iii) home adaptations were made for VAD care. Pictures were described in written detail and analysed. A qualitative descriptive approach was used for analysis. The sample consisted of 10 dyads, with mostly spousal relationships (60%) between male patients (60%) and female caregivers (80%). Three themes were identified: (i) Evolution of Caregiving and Support: Patients gain independence, but caregivers are still needed, (ii) Adapting the Home Environment: Changes are focused on functional needs, and (iii) Hidden Dangers: Illumination of safety concerns by photographs. Assistance with bathing, driveline care, and medication management were common caregiving tasks. Most home adaptations occurred in the bathroom and bedroom including sleeping recliners, shower chairs, removable shower heads, and hanging hooks to hold VAD equipment. Safety hazards included minimal space for safe ambulation, infection risk, and home-made adaptations to the environment. CONCLUSIONS: These findings describe key home caregiving tasks, home adaptations, and safety concerns that require further education and support. Utilizing pictures may be a feasible method for assessing VAD teaching, caregiving needs, and identifying potential risks.
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