Are LVAD’s actually real? I mean.. I know Denny had one on Grey’s Anatomy but that’s television. It wasn’t until 18 months ago that I realized that this was an actual procedure when it was recommended to a close family member. LVAD stands for “Left Ventricular Assist Device”, and it’s a mechanical pump that runs off of batteries to help patients remain stable until they are able to get a heart transplant.
I remember having a brief conversation with a cardiologist about this recommendation, but once he left the room I was left sitting in a room with my head spinning. Where do I go from here? I actually went to the internet and I found two excellent online support groups to help answer questions. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a great tool to search for support groups by visiting: Healthfinder
This is just one example of why an online support group can be beneficial. Here are the top 4 reasons you should consider researching online support groups:
- Convenience – Life is busy. It’s not always possible to make it to a loved one’s doctor appointment to ask questions. There’s also the chance that a procedure or treatment option isn’t offered locally. This is where an online support group really shines. It can help provide you support and flexibility from the comfort of your own home, 24/7.
- Anonymity – Being a caregiver for a loved one is one of the toughest things you will ever do. Being in an online support group provides you with the feeling that you have a safe place to express feelings, needs or any concerns you have.
- Encouragement – Online support groups offer a constant place to reach out for encouragement. Most people in an online support group are experiencing the same challenges that you might be. It’s nice to have a place to ask questions, vent and receive encouragement. In the example shared, the online support group I found helped me get through many ups and downs whether it was 2 in the afternoon or 3 in the morning.
- Resources – Two minds are always better than one. Because of the flexibility, online support groups tend to have more active members and over a larger footprint. This can offer a variety of resources and knowledge for you.
For more information regarding online support groups ask your doctor if they are familiar with one in your area. You may also complete an internet search for “online support group”, followed by the type of support group you’re interested in. One of our Aging Life Care™ Professionals may also be reached by contacting us here.
Collectively written by our team members: Casey, Charity, Mary and Martha.