Kelly Acheson
July 2022
Transplant & Mechanical Circulatory Support Services
Baptist Memorial Healthcare Corporation
United States




Her dedication to communication and coordination for this patient has prevented complications and readmissions that would have hindered his recovery.
This particular nurse is a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) coordinator who works at Baptist. She cares for LVAD patients who are very complex and require frequent clinic visits and medication changes. We recently had a new LVAD patient who was very sick after the LVAD implant and required a very complex follow-up. This patient was going to require rehab at an outside facility once discharged, and because LVADs are so intricate, it is incredibly difficult to find a rehabilitation facility that can accommodate a patient with this device. It was quickly apparent that transportation from rehab to our clinic was going to be an issue and that the patient was not going to get the frequent visits he so desperately needed. Her involvement with their care starts before the LVAD implant, where she educates patients and their family members on the care that is required after the implant. This education consists of multiple appointments with patients and their family members, and when education is completed, the family members are required to pass a test to show they have the knowledge to manage such a complex device. Recovery after an LVAD implant has a high likelihood of complication, and these patients are at a very high risk for readmission to the hospital. After these patients are discharged from the hospital, they may require inpatient rehabilitation. Traditionally, LVAD patients will recover and rehab enough while they are in the hospital that they are able to go home and rely on the care of their now LVAD-trained family members. After discharge, patients are required to have weekly clinic visits for 12 weeks and then transition to monthly visits until they reach 1 year. This nurse went above and beyond to fill the gaps in the transition of care. She would clock out from work and go see this patient at rehab on her personal time. She made sure the patient, his family, and the staff at the rehab facility felt comfortable with his care and was able to catch and correct mistakes in the transition of care that otherwise would have been missed, thus negatively impacting the patient. The patient, his family, and the rehab staff were so thankful for the extra time and care she put into taking care of this patient. This nurse always thinks about her patients as a whole. While great at identifying and understanding the medical needs of an individual LVAD patient, she is also able to capture who a patient is as a person. Her dedication to communication and coordination for this patient has prevented complications and readmissions that would have hindered his recovery. She not only has the skills to coordinate the care of the patient in the clinic but also identifies the individual needs in the community that goes beyond routine care. This is one of many patient examples where this nurse has individualized patient care based on unique needs to have a powerful impact on a patient’s life.