Monday, November 21, 2011

Things you may need, before your loved one comes home with an LVAD ... and Tips!

When Jason was in the hospital all I could do was think about everything I had to do BEFORE he came home. I didn't want to forget something and have to run out as soon as he got home!

These are a few little things to help you:

  • Make sure that the outlet by the bed is free and clear, so they can easily disconnected the cord if they need to take the equipment to another room.
  • If you are lucky enough to have a Master bathroom, let them have the side of the bed closest to the bathroom. Yes, there is 20 feet of cord, but why waste it!
  • Start saving plastic bags, you can use them for the used driveline care supplies that you can't recycle.
  • Buy something to keep the non- sterile gauze in. We NEVER use all the gauze during driveline care. You CANNOT use this again for driveline care, but you can use it for non sterile first aid.
  • Don't go out and buy a cart for your room to keep the equipment on, a nightstand table works just fine.
  • For drive line care, I use an Ironing board. You can set it to the correct height, and theres plenty of room. I just fold it up and keep it under the bed when not in use.
  • If you have pets I do suggest getting a hook to hang the 20 ft cord from when not in use. Preferably behind whatever you choose to keep the equipment on.You dont want Mr. Fluffy chewing on the life line... My dogs is 12 and I still did this ( just in case)
  • If you have a high bed (like us) you NEED a step stool to help them get in bed. Get one that has a bar for them to hold on to, not a cheap plastic one. They are still really sore, the last thing you want them to do is fall!
  • Make sure you have plenty of pillows! It hurt Jason so bad to lay flat. You will need at least 3, depending on how firm they are.
  • Dont forget to get a Flashlight! Keep it by the bed at all times. You will need this if the power goes out during the night, and you want to know EXACTLY where it is.
  • The Drive Line Care Supplies will arriving either a few days before or the next day after discharge, so go ahead and get a spot ready. We have shelves in the closet in our bedroom, and this is where I keep everything.
  • If you have to keep the drive line supplies in another room, make up bags a week at a time. It makes it alot easier just to grap a bag, when you are ready to do the drive line care. You can also use that bag for the clean up.
  • Get Antibacterial wipes . Use one to wipe off the surface before starting the drive line care.
  • For the first few weeks I hung Jasons PJS up in the closet, and sat his underclothes out on a shelf in the closet. This way he didn't have to pull on any drawers, and he could still be independent.
  • Do not buy slippers unless you dont have carpet,  static and an LVAD do not mix.
  • Get a sports bottle. Jason was VERY thirsty, and we kept it by the bed at night. You do not want water spilled on that awesome equipment.. or worse.. your loved one!
  • Always keep a nightlight or lite close by on at night. This will prevent falling if they should have to go to the restroom during the night. 
  • If you will be sleeping in a different room get a monitor or a bell . They may need your help during the night.
 Whew... I'm sure I left some things out, but I hope I covered everything for the most part. It might feel very scary in the beginning, I know it's alot to remember,  but It gets better and easier. You just need to know whats safe and what works for your family. If you have any questions don't hesitate to email me at ,I'd be more than happy to help you.
Best of Luck!

1 comment:

  1. I am glad to have found your blog. I am also a wife/caregiver to a LVAD patient. My husband, Russ, just received one back on October 27th. We are only a month into it and he is doing great. For me this is all so overwhelming even though he is improving each day. He was born with mitral valve prolapse and 3rd degree AV block, so he has lived with a heart condition all of his life. He had a pacemaker/defib put in 2009 which helped. Back in the end of September (this year) we were told the news that he needs a heart transplant. On October 20th he was admitted (spent his birthday in the hospital), we were trained on the LVAD and the following week he had it installed. He seems to be handling all of this great, I am just the nervous wreck.

    Again, thanks for your blog, any additional advice or suggestions would be great to hear.