A CNS-Facilitated ICD Support Group: A Clinical Project Evaluation

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The purpose of this article is to describe and evaluate a clinical nurse specialist (CNS)-facilitated support group for recipients of implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Specific evaluation aims were as follows: (1) How do demographic and clinical factors differ between those who attended the support group and those who did not? (2) Is there a difference in the quality of life index (QLI) of individuals with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator who attended the CNS-facilitated support group and those who did not? (3) What demographic and clinical factors are related to QLI?

Design and Method:

Clinical project theory-based objectives were described. Implementation of the project was evaluated by retrospective survey of all implantable cardioverter defibrillator recipients during a 10-year time frame using the Ferrans and Powers' Quality of Life Index: Cardiac Version and demographic questionnaire. Attendance sheets defined who attended so comparisons could be made.

Evaluation Results:

One hundred and twelve surveys were returned (34% return rate). A positive relationship between CNS visit during hospitalization, number of and value of supports, years of education, and ejection fraction was noted with attendance at the support group. No between-group differences on total QLI, or on any subscales, were found. Comorbidity was the only clinical factor correlated with QLI.


CNS-facilitated support groups can be offered as an additional support. Evaluation design issues limited the measuring outcomes of existing interventions. Future prospective studies are recommended to determine the affect of the support group on quality of life.

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