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Casey F. Family Member

Preparing home for life after LVAD

My father in law had his LVAD implanted on Monday. I'm not sure exactly when he will be returning home. It sounds like we can expect him sometime near the end of the year. I'm wondering if there is anything that I can do to help my mother in law prepare their home for his return. Their house was built in the 1800s so I was thinking that making sure that there are accessible electric outlets in the needed locations would be a start. I'm not sure what else I could do or what to expect.... Thank you!
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Jeff W.

You mentioned that it was a 1800's home and being that old I would check with electrician to see if the individual circuits in the house can handle the battery charger and the monitor along with other normal items all on same circuit. Each fuse or circuit beaker usually can only handle 15 amps in a modern home. You may have some that are limited to 10 amps, so you may have to deal with tripping the breaker in the dark. Flashlights-- particularly the LED type are a most, scattered around the house for a moments notice. Have your Coordinators number written down in several places. The number one problem with the LVAD is driveline infection. Step up an area that is super clean as the designated bandage changing area. Make sure it has a good work surface that can be use as the surgical clean spot. I use the coffee table in front of the couch. It has a glass top that allows through cleaning before the bandage change.
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Stan C.

Willhyland above made some very good suggestions. Also think ahead about where you would go if the house were to lose electric power and just be aware of the possibility this could happen. You have plenty of time if power is lost as you will have extra batteries which can last at least a day if needed. Having an LVAD will basically change how you do everything but another key is emotional support for both the patient and caregiver. Changes with how you do things will come naturally as you figure it out but constant emotional support is something you have to provide regularly. It can be extremely frustrating living with an LVAD especially the first few months at home as you feel like life is over. I still occasionally have to pump myself up or a loved one (friend) will help me to raise my spirits.
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Jessica G.

Also...unsure of your health and specific situation but my father had and still has issues with passing out. We were told this could be common in lvad patients. Be sure to stand up slowly, always hold on to something, get your bearings, and take some deep breaths after standing. Also have a night light to not trip over cords when attached to unit. Have a system for showering so that your shower bag is always in a safe place and have a place to be seated while preparing the shower bag.
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Casey F.

Thank you so much everyone, this is helpful. Greg had his surgery 14 days ago and is still in intensive care. He has only had one episode of being awake and responsive during that time but we are hanging in there.