- Joined: 1 Aug 2012
75 Year Old Dad about to get an LVAD. Need caregiver support.
My dad is 75 and too old for a transplant so getting an LVAD as a destination solution. My sister and I are the only two immediate family members. We both live in LA and he lives in Boston. We are going back and forth between doing it in both cities. We are under 30 - without families - and are mobile and healthy. But our doctors have told us that we will have to live with dad for the rest of our lives, which of course is stressful and anxiety producing as we both will need to maintain fulltime jobs. I have read a lot of comments by people who have LVADs but are a lot younger than my dad, so assume the recovery and post-LVAD life is remarkably different. I am concerned that we might have to get a nurse or someone to help out with dad so that we are able to carry on with our lives. Obviously both of us love him dearly and will support him best we can, but want to know how much time will be devoted to making sure he is ok...Is there any support forums or caregiver advocate groups that might be able to help me with this big decision? Thank you
- Family Member
- Joined: 12 Sep 2011
- Crofton, Maryland
Hi There, I'm sorry to hear about your situation. My father received his LVAD at the age of 55 and was able to make it to transplant. However, I can relate with trying to juggle a career and caring for an LVAD father. First, the best advice anyone will ever give you is take one day at a time. Second, he will need support and trying to guess exactly how much will be impossible; every patient is different and will handle things differently.
I believe how he is after receiving the LVAD has a lot to do with how he is before transplant. Many patients are strong before receiving the LVAD and recovery and post implant care is easier for the patient to handle. Others, like my father, had been sick for a while and had a very difficult time with recovery and regaining strength. On the other hand my father is very technical savvy and was able to pickup the device usage pretty quickly. (battery swaps, connecting to power, etc.)
Daily management is really focused on Medications and dressing changes. Your father will need assistance with the dressing changes around the LVAD wire site - this is very important to keep clean and maintained to avoid infection. He will also most likely have several medications and it's important to take them regularly. There are some great tools to help with this here - LVAD Maintenance Tools
My Mother was Dad's primary caregiver and after he was stable was able to work part time. The hospital should have a social worker that can help you evaluate things as time goes forward. There are options at some companies such as Family Medical Leave (FMLA). Someone living with your father is probably a good suggestion. There will be things to prepare for incase of power outages, ensure his batteries are charged, making sure he takes his backup controller and battery's with him when he leaves the house etc.
I hope this helps give you some insight on what to expect, the LVAD Community is here for you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us. I know that for me, although watching my father go through heart failure, the time spent together with his LVAD was a second chance and even time spent together in hospitals, helping him etc was time that I almost didn't have.
Good Luck, your family is in our prayers.
- Family Member
- Joined: 22 Aug 2012
- Fresh Meadows, NY
I feel your pain. My dad is 73 and in the same boat; all 3 kids live far away, and my mom is overwhelmed being the caregiver. Best to prepare, especially initially, for goin there quite often