Abstract

A ventricular assist device (VAD) is a surgically implanted mechanical pump attached to the heart to assist its function in patients with advanced heart failure. This paper investigates the current state of training being provided to VAD patients and caregivers, and whether it adequately prepares them for the VAD lifestyle. The study consisted of a literature review, a content analysis and interviews conducted with stakeholder representatives. A co-design process led to the development a holistic interactive prototype that was evaluated by one VAD caregiver, one VAD biomedical engineer, and one VAD surgeon. Four key themes emerged from the research examining the VAD patient and caregiver training experience: (i) uncertainty, (ii) misinformation, (iii) gratitude, and (iv) preparation. Five overarching themes emerged as design recommendations: (1) artificial onboarding, (2) contextual empathy, (3) ongoing support, (4) physician connectivity, and (5) emergency scenarios. Findings suggest the need to focus on not just the patient, but equally on the VAD caregiver. Design opportunities include the optimisation of both training tools and VAD communication relating to emergency scenario preparation.

Keywords:

medical design; patient relationships; patient-centric design; VAD caregiver

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Jun 25th, 12:00 AM

Cascading Mentorship: Designing a Support Tool for Patients with Ventricular Assist Devices

A ventricular assist device (VAD) is a surgically implanted mechanical pump attached to the heart to assist its function in patients with advanced heart failure. This paper investigates the current state of training being provided to VAD patients and caregivers, and whether it adequately prepares them for the VAD lifestyle. The study consisted of a literature review, a content analysis and interviews conducted with stakeholder representatives. A co-design process led to the development a holistic interactive prototype that was evaluated by one VAD caregiver, one VAD biomedical engineer, and one VAD surgeon. Four key themes emerged from the research examining the VAD patient and caregiver training experience: (i) uncertainty, (ii) misinformation, (iii) gratitude, and (iv) preparation. Five overarching themes emerged as design recommendations: (1) artificial onboarding, (2) contextual empathy, (3) ongoing support, (4) physician connectivity, and (5) emergency scenarios. Findings suggest the need to focus on not just the patient, but equally on the VAD caregiver. Design opportunities include the optimisation of both training tools and VAD communication relating to emergency scenario preparation.

 

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