Knowledge Gap at the Heart of VAD Care

Knowledge Gap at the Heart of VAD Care

Whether as a bridge to a transplant or a permanent course of care, ventricular assist devices (VADs) present an essential but challenging tool for nurses, who must learn VAD operation and maintenance while also helping heart failure patients transfer from hospital to home care.

Critical- and progressive-care nurses’ comfort and experience with VADs varies widely, complicated by the improvement—and increasing complexity—of the technology, write Jesus Casida, PhD, RN, APN-C, Martha Abshire, PhD, RN, and colleagues in “Nurses’ Competence Caring for Hospitalized Patients With Ventricular Assist Devices” (Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing). And with demand for the devices growing—due to an aging population and the rise in hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and coronary heart disease plus and a continuing organ donor shortage—the learning gap must be addressed.

Casida, Abshire, and their colleagues lay the path for future research with “the first empirical data and a starting point for advancement of our knowledge about the bedside nurse competence and competency in the management of patients with VADs.”

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