Exploring illness denial of LVAD patients in cardiac rehabilitation and their caregivers: A preliminary study

Silvia Rossi Ferrario, Anna Panzeri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Implantable left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are increasingly used for patients with heart failure. Despite this evidence, the psychological processes affecting implanted patients and their caregivers are only marginally studied. While common emotional reactions, such as anxiety and depression already receive attention, very little is known about the course of caregiver strain, illness denial, and their reciprocal relation. This preliminary study aims at exploring these critical topics in a cardiac rehabilitation setting, besides offering indications for future research. A total of 44 LVAD patients and caregivers were administered specific questionnaires at admission and discharge from cardiac rehabilitation. Overall, questionnaires completed at discharge showed a positive improvement in the emotional measures used. However, they also showed a worsening in the illness denial measure. We suggest that the denial process may prepare patients and caregivers in returning home. Moreover, we conclude that studying only the common emotional reactions may limit the understanding of the psychological process adaptation to severe illness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-660
Number of pages6
JournalArtificial Organs
Volume44
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2020

Keywords

  • caregiver strain
  • denial
  • health
  • illness
  • LVAD
  • psychology
  • rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering

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