A survey of moral distress and end of life care in mechanical circulatory support nurses

Abigail L Latimer, Melanie D Otis, Christopher Flaherty, Miriam A Ross
Heart & Lung: the Journal of Critical Care 2020 July 20

BACKGROUND: Patients receiving left ventricular assisted device (LVAD) require the expertise of specialty trained nurses referred to as VAD coordinators. The long-term use of these devices has created morally distressing situations for VAD coordinators.

OBJECTIVE: This pilot study sought to explore the association between ventricular assistance device (VAD) coordinators' unique roles and responsibilities and moral distress.

METHODS: An online survey was distributed to VAD coordinators through a listserv. The non-probability sample consisted of 36 nurses across the United States.

RESULTS: Bivariate analyses identified a number of areas of difference in respondent's levels of moral distress based on specific responsibilities associated with their role as a VAD coordinator.

CONCLUSION: These findings indicate team communication, competence, and location of VAD discontinuation may be important factors related to VAD coordinators' distress. Future research is needed with larger sample sizes and continued exploration of the impact of specialized training and curricula content.

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