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There are many people who help care for you when you have heart surgery. Each member of the health care team has a role. You are the focus of each member. Read on to find out more about the team members.
Surgeon is the doctor who is does the surgery. They direct the care to meet your needs. They lead the health care team.
Family members and friends are vital members of your team. They support you. If you have ideas about how your team can help you or your loved ones, tell the team.
Anesthesiologist is the doctor who provides anesthesia and care during your surgery.
Perfusionists work with the surgeons in operating room (OR) to put in the ventricular assist device. They will manage your device while in the OR.
Critical care team are doctors who care for seriously ill patients. They will work with the surgeon to guide your care when in the intensive and intermediate care.
Heart failure team includes a heart failure doctor and advance practice providers. They will manage your heart failure with the surgical and critical care teams. After discharge, this team will be caring for you.
MCD coordinators include advanced practice providers and nurses who are trained to care for MCD patients. They will teach you how to care for your device. They manage the care with your primary care doctor, heart doctor and local hospital. They manage your blood thinners and heart failure medicines with the heart failure team and surgeon.
Advanced practice providers are nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants. They work closely with your surgeon and you.
Nurses are members of the team who help with your daily care in the hospital. They are the main team members during your stay. Nurses help with your medicines, teach you and your family, and work closely with the other members of the team. Nurses also assess you during the day and night for safety. They share the information with other team members.
Nursing assistants help with cares such as eating and bathing.
Fellows are doctors who have finished their general training.
Residents are doctors who are doing their general surgery training.
Pharmacists on the cardiac surgery unit make sure your medicines are correct, safe, and effective.
Technicians or techs (lab, x-ray, EKG) make sure your health care team members have the information they need to care for you. The lab techs draw your blood. The x-ray techs take x-rays, most often of your chest. The EKG techs attach the EKG patches to check your heart rhythm.
Case manager or social worker helps with any special needs you may have as you get ready to go home. These needs may include lab draws, home health, or rehab placement.
Respiratory therapist helps you keep your lungs healthy. They help you breathe by using machines and devices. They provide inhaled medicines and help you with treatments to clear mucous from the lungs.
Physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) will see most patients after surgery to make sure they can get in/out of bed. They will help you gain muscle strength.
The Cardiac Rehab department works with you after surgery to help you start your cardiac rehab program. They talk with you about safe activities to do after surgery and about lifestyle changes. They will refer you to a cardiac rehab program near your home.
Consult services may include diabetes management and kidney doctors (for some patients). Your surgeon works with the consult services that meet your needs.
Support staff includes administrative staff and management.
Surgeon’s secretary may help you schedule some tests and appointments. They may also help you fill out Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) papers or disability paperwork.
Unit secretary helps with the daily work on the hospital unit. This includes answering the phones and arranging for any tests you need while in the hospital.
Nurse manager of the unit works to keep the unit running smoothly. They are also a person who can help if you have questions or concerns.
Housekeeping staff keep your room and the rest of the hospital clean.
Maintenance staff keep all equipment at the hospital working well.