Ventilator Weaning Early Ambulation Program
The goal of Gaylord’s vent weaning early ambulation program is to have patients up and walking as soon as possible after their admission. We want our patients to be able to leave their rooms, reap the benefits of exercise and enjoy fresh air and feel the sunlight on their faces.
Our ventilator-dependent patients will be evaluated by the pulmonary and physical therapy team to determine their capabilities, and if mobilization is appropriate, will begin using the mobile ventilators to go to the gym for physical therapy and visit other areas of the hospital and grounds.
Early Ambulation Program brochure
Gaylord’s Vent Weaning program also has a comprehensive decannulation program and encourages the use of a Passy-Muir Valve early in the recovery process. The valve is a simple medical device used by tracheostomy and ventilator patients, which redirects air flow through the vocal folds, mouth and nose, enabling improved communication.
Evidence-based research has shown that the Passy-Muir Valve provides clinical benefits, including improved communication, swallowing, secretion management, and oxygenation. At Gaylord, Passy-Muir Valves are used in the decannulation process, allowing patients to adjust to a more normal breathing pattern, and as a tool to help wean patients from the ventilator . As patients become comfortable exhaling through their upper airway, their confidence is improved and respiratory muscle retraining is facilitated. Additionally, the Passy-Muir Valve can improve the sense of smell, leading to an increase in taste, and thereby appetite, which helps in a faster recovery.
Gaylord has been designated as a Center of Excellence for the Passy-Muir valve.
Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES)
A swallow study or Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) is used to evaluate a patient’s ability to swallow food and liquids. Because of a compromised respiratory status tracheostomy/ventilator dependent patients often pose a greater risk of aspiration that can result in food or liquid being inhaled into the respiratory system. An FEES study improves the ease and speed of patient evaluation and may allow a patient to safely eat earlier in the recovery process.
The FEES uses a flexible scope, known as a laryngoscope, to assess a patient’s ability to swallow. Because the FEES is a portable system the ventilator dependent patient can remain in his/her room while the study is being done.