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Maureen S. Caregiver

Independent living

Can a person age 75 getting a LVAD live alone or do they need a 24/7 caretaker?  


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Reiss T.

My guess is that most, if not all,  LVAD centers would not approve an LVAD implant for anyone who does not have a qualified caregiver.  Whether the caregiver actually has to live with the recipient is another issue. If there is a relative close by or a neighbor who is qualified and will commit to the training and caregiving, that might work. The main (but not only) responsibility of the caregiver is the regular sterile dressing changes. I have know of two LVADers whose spouses passed away and they then did their own dressing changes out of necessity. Remember that each medical center will have its own protocols and some policies may change from place to place. If you are considering getting an LVAD you should talk to the center where you would go and and ask them this question. Bottom line: Having a good caregiver is critically important, especially for the first few months. I am 80, ten years out, and am doing just fine, but I give my wife and medical team most of the credit. 


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In reply to by Reiss T.

Doug W.

I have been living alone and independently for three out of the four years I have had a heartmate III. After the first year my wife died and i took over the dressing changes etc. if one is otherwise healthy I don’t believe it should be an issue. At 76 I have decided that living here in my large home it is time to move to a senior living facilities independent living environment. Even there which will be 45 minutes closer to the LVAD Center, I will be changing my own dressings etc. You and the LVAD Center need to be somewhat flexible and consider the individual circumstances. 
By the way, my philosophy is to continue living and enjoying ones life as much as possible. I still play golf twice a week and exercise on my spin cycle as much as I can. 

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In reply to by Reiss T.

richard c.

I have no caregiver. they wanted family to help out at the beginning but i could not leave the hospital until i could do my own dressing change. they r allowing a lot more patients live there lives. i was implanted a year ago. i get my dressing changed in 10 minutes and live alone. i am 56 so still young and the new bads are getting smaller and even wireless so u wont even have to do dressing changes

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In reply to by Reiss T.

Ray ..

I had none.

Did the dressings myself.

The hospital was duped by a distant relative into believing the relative would help.

However, when I surmised that the distant relative was up to something and let them know that I knew they were into some sort of nefarious scheming, they abruptly disappeared without a word.

Starting at a week out from the hospital, I've lived alone and have done everything myself .... that's right .... No caregiver.

it was tough at first, especially housework, since I was in terrible pain from the surgery and no one there to help.

I've recovered and am back to exercising and lifting weights.

A reliable care giver would have helped.

Out of concern for the patient, the hospital people would question me at length about the performance of my so-called caregiver relatives.

I did not reveal that my caregiver relatives did not care.  I kept it all to myself out of embarrassment that I should have those people as relatives.








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Cindy R.

Hello Maureen,

It requires open heart surgery to implant an LVAD.  The patient MUST have a caregiver for at least 3 months, based on both of my surgeries, until they can care for themselves. Regardless, the patient will need 24/7 as well as a trained caregiver, before leaving any reputable hospital.  I am not aware of any rehab facility that would provide such a service, but have not looked.  

In my opinion, assuming the 75 year old was in good mental and physical health before the heart failure, after the time it takes to heal, a person could live by themselves, but only if support is very close by.  If I lived alone before the failure, I would be more then capable to live alone again, once healed.  I was 50 at first implant, and 57 at 2nd, so I am a lot younger.

Best Wishes,


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Maureen S.

Thank you for your helpful responses.  Now that I understand the type of surgery I can appreciate the need for trained caretakers. 

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In reply to by Maureen S.

Cindy R.

My husband was my caregiver after both surgeries.  The hospital trained us both to the point of being comfortable, before I was discharged.  The caregiver does not have to be a paid professional, just someone who will be staying with the patient during recovery.

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Vikki R.

Hey Maureen, I think anyone with an lvad needs someone in the house that knows and are comfortable with the operating alarms of the lvad. I don’t think anyone should live alone with an lvad.

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Reiss T.

Just to be clear I agree with Vikki, but its up to the center and the patient to make that call. The center may be required live in for an initial period of time. 

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Stephen H.

4/30/18 was my lvad impimentation date.  Before i had the surgery my daughter and son in law convinced me to have it and they would be my caregivers. Im 78 now


 My lvad team said i had to have them in order to be considerd. I went to their house after rehab.  My improvement  progressed rapidly after my driving privileges were restored. It took me awhile to always remember to carry my black bag and water but i finally did when i realized the black bag also served as weight lifting exersize.  My daughter and son in law both work so i would be there alone unless my grandaughter came home from college. In November i talked with my daughter and made plans to move home. They helped me to become proficient in caring for myself and change my dressings Weekly. I had already taken over checking my inr and became trained on the dopler.  Uve had several occasions to have my alarm go off. Ive gone to emergency room twice since being home. Ems one time and myself another. Ems made it here in 3 minutes after my call. I lived independantly before lvad and got in pretty bad shape. My ef  was 10 when i was hospitalized before lvad. Ihave achieved about 95% of the activities that i enjoyed before lvad. They are water related so pretty much out of the picture. I dont or havent started traveling. Packing all my equipment is a pain in the a--!  I cook so i have a very low sodium diet and i like everything.  My biggest challenge is exeecise. I havent figured that out. I ball room dance but have neouropathy in my foot. I played a lot of bball but thats out. Fishing doesnt  give a lot of exercise. Nor does my harley or banjo. I keep several books on my phone for when i have to wait. Bookbub is very helpful with free books. So i guess my answer to your question is yes if you feel comfortable and can do your dressing. Knock on wood i havent had a problem.