Cascading Mentorship: Designing a Support Tool for Patients with Ventricular Assist Devices

Mackenzie Norman Etherington, Keum Hee Kimmi Ko, Jessica Lea Dunn, Karla Straker, Erez Nusem, Cara Wrigley, Shaun David Gregory

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review


A ventricular assist device (VAD) is a surgically implanted mechanical pump attachedto the heart to assist its function in patients with advanced heart failure. This paperinvestigates the current state of training being provided to VAD patients andcaregivers, and whether it adequately prepares them for the VAD lifestyle. The study consisted of a literature review, a content analysis and interviews conducted with stakeholder representatives. A co-design process led to the development a holistic interactive prototype that was evaluated by one VAD caregiver, one VAD biomedical engineer, and one VAD surgeon. Four key themes emerged from the research examining the VAD patient and caregiver training experience: (i) uncertainty, (ii)misinformation, (iii) gratitude, and (iv) preparation. Five overarching themes emerged as design recommendations: (1) artificial onboarding, (2) contextual empathy, (3)ongoing support, (4) physician connectivity, and (5) emergency scenarios. Findings suggest the need to focus on not just the patient, but equally on the VAD caregiver.Design opportunities include the optimisation of both training tools and VAD communication relating to emergency scenario preparation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of DRS 2018
Subtitle of host publicationCatalyst
EditorsCristiano Storni, Keelan Leahy, Muireann McMahon, Peter Lloyd, Erik Bohemia
Place of PublicationLimerick Ireland
PublisherDesign Research Society
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781912294169
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventDesign Research Society (UK) International Conference 2018 - University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
Duration: 25 Jun 201828 Jun 2018


ConferenceDesign Research Society (UK) International Conference 2018
Abbreviated titleDRS 2018
Internet address

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