A team of specialist nurses at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital have been named Finalists for a national award in recognition of the outstanding patient care they provide.
Shortlisted for the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery in Great Britain and Ireland’s Best Cardiac Nursing Team of the Year category, the nursing team care for a unique group of patients whose advanced heart failure means that they need to be connected to mechanical circulatory support, 24 hours a day.
Known as long term Left Ventricular Assisted Device (LVAD) therapy, every aspect of the patient’s care is extremely complex and the nurses who look after them build strong, important often lifelong relationships with them, and their families.
Thankfully the need for VADs is relatively uncommon however the complexity of the care needed before, during and after the implantation of a VAD means that only the most experienced centres of expertise can deliver the service such as the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.
The team was nominated by Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Professor Stephan Schueler. He explains: “We have built a programme here in Newcastle to treat patients with advanced heart failure which we started in 2009 involving a team of multiple health professionals encompassing a wide range of expertise. The most essential part of this team is an independent, very active but small nursing team.
“They have major involvement in every aspect of the patient’s journey with us. The selection of patients with advanced heart failure for mechanical circulatory support.
“This includes their pre-surgical care, both in and out of hospital, their long term outpatient follow up care, and handling of all issues around a life with an implanted heart pump for many years.
“They educate patients and families on how to manage their lives, they train hospital staff, closely oversee the regional and supra-regional collaborating specialists are a high priority task for the team, and is provided at the highest level on a regular basis.
“This is just a short summary of all the various problems they have to look after, and there are many more smaller and bigger ‘jobs’ to deal with, within this high complex group of patients – a big package for a small team.”
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Professor Schueler adds: “They carry out their job with joy and enthusiasm, they always have an older ear to everyone, and they have the highest level of competency with the technology involved in this country.
“They are regularly part of scientific work and have been co-authors of scientific papers, and participated in and presented at international meetings on heart and lung transplant, and LVAD therapy meetings.
“They have become an irreplaceable group of highly specialised and committed young specialists and it is a great privilege to work with them.”
We wish the team all the very best at the Awards Ceremony on Monday 9 May 2022.