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BiVADs: a bridge to the future for patients and their families: the art and science of nursing combined in the face of technology.

Approximately 500,000 Canadians live with heart failure (Ross et al., 2006). These numbers continue to rise due to advancing technology and successes in treating cardiac conditions and potentially fatal events such as myocardial infarctions. According to Carrier (2005), individuals with damaged hearts are living longer, and lives are being successfully saved with the surge of cardiovascular assist devices developed in recent years, which are increasingly used as a bridge to transplant. Despite the lifesaving capabilities of ventricular-assist devices, these innovations pose risks and complications that can be debilitating for patients and their families (Carrier, 2005). As this complex trajectory is navigated, nurses provide care and support to the patient and family while playing a unique role in the assessment and monitoring of these devices. A family-centred nursing model provides a framework for practice when nursing patients and families are in crisis. The foundations of the McGill Model of Nursing are focused on a strengths-based approach, revolving around collaboration between patients, family resources, and tailored interventions (Gottlieb & Feeley, 2005). As students placed in a critical care setting, we began to realize the complexity of care required to nurse these patients and their families. In this paper, a case study is used to describe and share our learning experiences of caring for a patient with a biventricular assist device, as well as the principles that guided our interventions.

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