When your loved one is on ventilator

Smruti Shah
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Ventilator - What You Should Know?

This information is prepared to help you to understand basics of ventilator. If you have any questions, please be sure to contact doctor.

What is a ventilator?

A ventilator is a machine that helps a patient to breathe during some medical problem that makes it difficult for them to breathe well on their own. The ventilator can assist partially with breathing or totally breathe for the patient.

Patient may feel frustrated or anxious because he or she can’t talk while on the ventilator. Some time patient becomes aggressive and may fight to remove tubes and connections of ventilator. In such scenario, patients are given medicines that puts them in a calm or induce deep sleep (or coma) like condition so that the ventilator does all the work of breathing and desired medical result can be achieved…

How Relatives Can Help?

Try talking to patient as normal as you can. Let him/her know that you’re nearby to support in difficult times. You may touch the patient with aseptic precautions as per Nurse or doctor’s instructions.

How to Feed Patient on Ventilator?

Patient will be fed through an IV (intravenous) or feeding tube while on the ventilator.

Who Monitor Ventilator Parameters?

Usually there is cardiac monitor (a small screen) which keep track of things like the patient’s heart rhythm and blood pressure. The ventilator has screen which keep track of ventilator parameters. They are equipped with alarms which help Nurse/Doctor to monitor changes in patient’s condition.

Often when an alarm sounds, there might be no great cause for concern. The problem may correct itself, and this will be monitored from the nurses’ station.

How to Withdraw Ventilator Support?

The ventilator brings oxygen into the lungs and helps get rid of carbon dioxide from the patient’s body. When the patient’s medical problems have improved and he or she is well enough, “weaning” will begin as per treating doctor’s instructions. Weaning is the process of getting the patient off the ventilator. This is also known as a “weaning trial” .If these trials go well, the patient may be removed from the ventilator.

Sometimes a patient may become dependent on a ventilator because of his or her medical problems. This may make it difficult to get the patient off the ventilator.