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At the VAD Holiday Table

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Pamela Combs, PhD, RN
Seton Hospital
Austin, TX, USA

Although the New Year has not yet arrived, the holiday cheer is abundant among all VAD team members. It is with great anticipation that preparations are taking place to celebrate the past, present and the future. One event typically planned is the Holiday dinner, to which one invites those that are so integral in contributing to his/her wholeness. In thinking what new guests for the year 2015 will be sitting at the VAD table, a few thoughts come to mind. The following "hot words" are being heard through-out VAD conferences and work settings. Only time will tell if these words do indeed become integral to our VAD world, but it is intriguing to "put them on the table" for discussion.

1) Thought partner - This concept challenges thinking and causes VAD team members to modify or change previously utilized paradigms, assumptions or actions [1]. An example of thought partners would be when a "seasoned" VAD Coordinator shares ideas and mentors those Coordinators new to the VAD world [1].

2) Mindfulness - This element involves holding painful thoughts and feelings in "balanced awareness", rather than hiding them with shame and close-mindedness. In caring for VAD patients over several years one may become attached, contrary to what the text books advise. As such, when the patients do die, it is productive to practice a balanced awareness. It is appropriate and human to feel the pain of loss but not to an extreme. In practicing mindfulness, we can more effectively process events and retain our current VAD team members [2].

4) Shared Care - This type of care model is a partnership between the VAD implant center and the patients' community health care team [3]. Shared Care is being presented at an increasing number of VAD conferences and the discussions among VAD team members predict this will indeed be a "hot word" for 2015.

5) Patient Satisfaction - The need to improve quality in healthcare delivery is imperative. A major component of quality of health care is patient satisfaction. Furthermore, patient satisfaction is critical to how well patients do; research has identified a clear link between patient outcomes and patient satisfaction scores. It is with this concept that VAD programs are now evaluating patients' satisfaction as an indicator of quality-of-life [4].

6) Third Generation VADs - The next generation of VADs are to be smaller and magnetically levitated, thus, eliminating wear and tear seen on current devices [5]. These devices are anxiously awaited by all team members, including the patient and caregivers.

Do you have predictions what words will be the "hot "words for 2015? ■

Disclosure Statement: The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.

1. Stanny, B. (2012). A fascinating new concept: How "though partners" add value to your business.
2. Shepherd, D. (2009). From lemons to lemonade: Squeeze every last drop of success out of your mistakes. Pearson Prentice Hall.
3. Retrieved from Shared Care Advantage website: http://heartmatepro.com/Content/files/Shared_Care_Slip_Sheet.pdf 11/24/2014.
4. Studer, Q., Robinson, B., Cook, K. (2010). The HCAHPS handbook: Hardwire your hospital for pay-for-performance success. Fire Starter Publishing, Gulf Breeze, FL.
5. Slaughter, M. (2014) ASAIO Annual Conference, Washington D.C.

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