OBJECTIVE - To describe the care delivery structure and elements used for patient self-care education in ventricular assist device (VAD) programs.
BACKGROUND - Use of VADs as destination therapy and to sustain organ function until cardiac transplantation has increased 517% since 2007. Elements of VAD-specific self-care education have not been described.
METHODS - A 26-item survey measuring VAD self-care education resource use, organizational, employment, behavioral and labor variables was sent to VAD coordinators at all US VAD centers (N = 111) in 2011. Two subsequent mailings yielded a 63% (n = 71) return rate. Analysis included descriptive statistics and cluster analysis.
RESULTS - Element use varied across programs. Reliance on single educational and evaluation methods, and lack of return demonstration were noted. VAD coordinators reported extensive caregiver, hospital provider, and community educational responsibilities in addition to patient self-care education.
CONCLUSIONS - VAD self-care education programs varied by hospital. Future research is needed to determine if specific care delivery structures or elements used in self-care education improve VAD patient outcomes.
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