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patient-centered care, patient simulation, qualitative research, self care, ventricular assist device



  1. Barsuk, Jeffrey H. MD, MS
  2. Cohen, Elaine R. MEd
  3. Harap, Rebecca S. BSN
  4. Grady, Kathleen L. PhD, RN
  5. Wilcox, Jane E. MD, MS
  6. Shanklin, Kerry B. MSN, FNP
  7. Wayne, Diane B. MD
  8. Cameron, Kenzie A. PhD, MPH


Background: Patients who undergo ventricular assist device (VAD) implantation and their caregivers must rapidly learn a significant amount of self-care skills and knowledge.


Objective: The aim of this study was to explore patient, caregiver, VAD coordinator, and physician perspectives and perceptions of existing VAD self-care training to inform development of a simulation-based mastery learning (SBML) curriculum to teach patients and caregivers VAD self-care skills and knowledge.


Methods: We conducted semistructured, in-person interviews with patients with a VAD, their caregivers, VAD coordinators, and physicians (cardiac surgeons, an infectious disease physician, and advanced heart failure cardiologists). We used a 2-cycle team-based iterative inductive approach to coding and analysis.


Results: We interviewed 16 patients, 12 caregivers, 7 VAD coordinators, and 11 physicians. Seven major themes were derived from the interviews including (1) identification of critical curricular content, (2) need for standardization and assessment, (3) training modalities, (4) benefits of repetition, (5) piercing it all together, (6) need for refresher training, and (7) provision of training before implant.


Conclusions: Findings from this study suggest that SBML is a natural fit for the high-risk tasks needed to save VAD self-care. The 7 unique training-related themes derived from the qualitative data informed the design and development of a VAD SBML self-care curriculum.