Ventilator Care and Weaning

If your loved one needs a device in order to breathe, you know how scary it is when he or she struggles. Only in recent years can those who need a machine that breathes for them be cared for outside a hospital. At Greystone Healthcare Center, our skilled nurses are trained in ventilator care methods. They can assure that a respirator is working properly, and they know how to assist in weaning off as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Acute Respiratory Failure

Rapid breathing and confusion are symptoms of high carbon dioxide levels in the blood. If the oxygen levels are too low, the person experiences an inability to breathe. The skin, lips, and fingertips acquire a bluish hue.

People with acute lung failure are restless, anxious, and sleepy. Other symptoms include irregular heartbeat, loss of consciousness, and shallow breathing. Also, profuse sweating can be a symptom.

What Are the Causes Of Lung Failure?

There are several causes of breathing failure:

  • Injury
  • Obstruction
  • Chemical inhalation
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Infection
  • Stroke
  • Allergic reactions
  • Pneumonia
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
  • Spinal cord or brain injury

How Can We Help?

Our staff assesses several things on an ongoing basis:

  • Unobstructed airway
  • Infection
  • Stability
  • Pain
  • The nutritional needs of the patient

Residents on ventilators can’t always speak, but they can usually express that they are in pain. Our nurses know how to make your loved one as comfortable as possible.

While anxiety medications can help, visits from family members are important as well.

Also, to ward off infection, changing the resident’s position and exercising their limbs are important. Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a common issue. Due to these risks, our staff keeps a close eye out for any warning signs.

Basic Needs

Proper airway management checks are performed constantly. In addition, daily routines of oral hygiene, such as brushing the patient’s teeth, are scheduled.

Blood pressure checks ensure the patients’ stability. Another risk is pneumothorax. This is when a lung collapses. Through constant monitoring, our nurses detect potential issues. Because a resident on a ventilator can’t swallow, feeding tubes become necessary. Many residents have feeding tubes to provide liquid nutrition through the gut. Of course, we ensure that all of the nutritional needs of our residents are being met.

How Do We Help Wean Off The Ventilator?

Of course, weaning off the machine is the aim for many residents. While breathing distress is resolved, our team creates a removal plan.

Many factors are involved in weaning such as:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Medications
  • Nutritional status

If or when our team decides to wean the resident, we look at these and other factors.

Some residents gradually ease off the ventilator over a period of weeks. Others may be weaned off sooner. Our goal is to provide an improved quality of life for your loved one. Therefore, we will report to you on his or her progress, and you’ll receive the attention you deserve at this difficult time. Of course, if you have questions or concerns, you can contact us at any time because at Greystone Healthcare Center, we are always here to help!

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