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There are many people who help care for you when you have heart surgery. Each member of your health care team has a role in your care. You are the focus of each member of your team. Please read on to find out more about your team members.
Your surgeon is the doctor who is doing your surgery. Your surgeon directs your care to meet your needs and leads your health care team members.
Your family members and friends are vital members of your team. They support you. When you think of ideas about how your health care team can help you or your loved ones, please share those ideas.
Your anesthesiologist is the doctor who provides anesthesia and care for you during your surgery.
The critical care team is a doctor who cares for critically ill patients. They will work with your surgeon to guide your care while you are in the intensive and intermediate care.
The heart failure team includes a heart failure doctor and heart failure nurse practitioners. 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 will coordinate your 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.
The advanced practice providers are nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants. They work closely with your surgeon and you.
Nurses and nursing assistants are the members of your health care team who help you with your daily care while you are in the hospital. Nurses are the main team members who provide care for you during your stay. Nurses help you with your medicines, teach you and your family and work closely with the other members of your health care team. Nurses also assess you during the day and night for your safety. They share the information they gather with your other team members. Nursing assistants help you with care such as eating and bathing.
Fellows and residents are the doctors who work in cardiac surgery as part of their training. Fellows are surgeons who have finished their general surgery training. They are training in cardiac surgery. 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 of you, most often your chest. The EKG techs attach the EKG patches to check your heart rhythm.
A case manager or social worker is a team member who helps you 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.
The 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. They teach you and your family and work closely with the other members of your health care team.
Physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) will see most patients after surgery to make sure they can get in/out of bed after open heart surgery. They will help you gain muscle strength.
A person from the Cardiac Rehab department works with you after your surgery to help you start your cardiac rehab program. This person talks with you about safe activities you may do after surgery and lifestyle changes. They will also 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. Your 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. The 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. The nurse manager of the unit works to keep the unit running smoothly. They are another person who can help if you have questions or concerns.
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.
Housekeeping and maintenance staff keep the hospital and its equipment in good condition. Housekeeping staff keep your room and the rest of the hospital clean. Maintenance staff keep all equipment at the hospital working well.