Ventricular Assist Device Self-care Education at Tertiary Care Medical Centers

Rebecca S. Harap*, Kenzie A Cameron, Elaine R. Cohen, Kathleen L. Grady, Jane E Wilcox, Denise M. Scholtens, Jeffrey H. Barsuk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ventricular assist device (VAD) implantation requires patients and caregivers to attain self-care knowledge and skills before discharge from implant hospitalization. Inability to perform these skills can have devastating outcomes (i.e., death from pump malfunction, driveline site infections, and stroke). No standard-of-care guiding VAD self-care education exists. We sought to describe how select tertiary care VAD implant centers across the United States currently educate VAD patients and their caregivers. Using a multiple case studies design with a purposive sampling strategy, we conducted semistructured interviews of VAD coordinators responsible for VAD education at 18 centers. From audio recording of interviews, we used rapid qualitative analysis to organize and analyze the data. All centers spent significant time and effort educating patients and caregivers on VAD self-care. Although centers teach similar content, the rigor of assessments and follow-up education differed vastly. Only 3/18 (17%) centers performed competency-based assessments with a skills checklist and minimum passing standard assessing readiness to perform VAD self-care independently. Twelve of 18 (67%) centers provided formal follow-up education to address skills decay, yet wide variation existed in timing and content of education. Due to the diversity among centers regarding VAD self-care education, more prescriptive practice guidelines are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1346-1351
Number of pages6
JournalASAIO Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022


  • patient education
  • qualitative methods
  • self-care
  • ventricular assist device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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