Ventilator Weaning Program

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Ventilator Weaning Program

Our Approach to Care

Using the latest research and technologies, together with a interdisciplinary team approach, our Ventilator Weaning Program is designed to help you successfully transition from being on a ventilator to breathing independence. We use proven weaning techniques – as well as clear communication between you, your family and your care team – to maximize your chances of success. Our vent weaning success rate is well above the national average. In fact, we’re often able to help patients who couldn't be weaned at an acute care hospital.

Before you arrive at Gaylord, we’ll conduct a thorough assessment of your condition, so that any special needs can be determined early in the treatment process. When you arrive, your entire care team will meet with you to develop an individualized plan of care. Using our Early Ambulation Program, our goal is to start weaning you from the ventilator as soon as possible and help you build strength and stamina. As part of your rehabilitation you may use our therapy gym, greenhouse, and the 500-acre hospital campus. We’ll also guide you in meeting your nutritional needs for better overall health.

Pulmonary Education 

Vent Program Video 1: Ventilator Care at Gaylord

Gaylord's Destination Vent/ Home Ventilator Training Program offers patients who are on a ventilator and coming from an acute care hospital two tracks of support and care. One track is for patients who have the possibility of being weaned or who are difficult to wean and a second track is designed for patients that cannot be weaned and who will be cared for at home. For the second track our staff will train family members in home ventilator care. This video covers many of the aspects of our program and key issues that patients and families need to carefully consider in the vent weaning or training process.



Vent Program Video 2: Training Caregivers

Gaylord's Destination Vent/ Home Ventilator Training Program will train family members in providing home ventilator care for a loved one who is unable to be weaned or can only be partially weaned from the vent. Caring for a loved who is vent dependent is a 24-hour per day, 7 day a week commitment. Home care aides or nurses will not care for the vent. At Gaylord, we will train family members about how to care for a vent dependent loved one in the home setting


Vent Program Video 3: Preparing the Home

Gaylord's Destination Vent/ Home Ventilator Training Program will train family members of a vent dependent patient about how to care for their loved one at home. There are many things to consider when bringing a vent dependent loved one home. Your home must be prepared and equipped to support not only the ventilator but your home must be made accessible. The installation of a generator and appropriate electrical upgrades will be necessary. The caregiver must sleep within sight and earshot of the vent patient, which may require rearranging your home.


Why is humidification with a trach important?

A tracheotomy may be necessary for many different conditions. But providing the right humidification is important for preventing different complications including lung collapse, increased lung secretions and for helping patients feel more comfortable overall. Gaylord's Medical Director of Critical Care and Pulmonology, Lorraine Trow, M.D, and Gaylord Pulmonologist, Brett Gerstenhaber, M.D. discuss the advantages of proper humidification with a trach. Gaylord uses Vapotherm High Flow Therapy to provide humidified oxygen to patients with a trach. Gaylord is a Vapotherm Center of Excellence. 

Early Ambulation Program


Program Highlights

Our Ventilator Weaning Program offers you several advantages:

  • Your care team will be led by a board-certified pulmonologist.
  • We will collaborate with your referring hospital’s pulmonary team. 
  • We offer advanced respiratory therapies and treatment for both acute and chronic conditions.
  • We set a vent-weaning goal of 15 days from the date of your admission.
  • We provide portable ventilators and bedside therapy equipment.
  • We offer 24-hour coverage by respiratory therapists.
  • We provide cardiac-monitoring for patients who require it.
  • Our nurses and respiratory therapists are ACLS and telemetry certified.
  • We combine respiratory therapy and physical, occupational and speech therapies to maximize your rehabilitation time.
  • We offer communication devices including the Passy-Muir Valve, when appropriate, which allows vent dependent patients to speak.
  • We use the Flight 60 ventilator, the most technically advanced, lightweight portable unit available.
  • We use Vapotherm High Flow Therapy to deliver humidifed oxygen to patients with a trach. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Our Vent Weaning program includes a comprehensive program for decannulation (the removal of the tracheostomy tube), and we encourage the use of a Passy-Muir Valve early in the recovery process. The Valve is a simple medical device, which redirects airflow through the vocal folds, mouth and nose to enable improved communication. Evidence-based research has shown that the Passy-Muir Valve provides several other clinical benefits including improved swallowing, secretion management, and oxygenation. As you become comfortable exhaling through your upper airway, your confidence is improved, and respiratory muscle retraining is facilitated. The Passy-Muir Valve can also improve your sense of smell, leading to an increase in taste and appetite, which helps speed recovery. Gaylord has been designated as a Center of Excellence for the Passy-Muir Valve.

The goal of our vent weaning Early Ambulation Program is to get you up and walking as soon as possible after admission. We want you to be able to leave your room, reap the benefits of exercise, enjoy fresh air, and feel the sunlight on your face. If you are ventilator-dependent, your pulmonary and therapy team will evaluate you to determine your capabilities. If mobilization is appropriate, we’ll begin using the mobile ventilators to take you to the gym for therapy and visit other areas of the hospital and grounds.

Part of the process of liberating a tracheostomy patient from his or her ventilator is to gradually shift the breathing workload from the ventilator to the patient. This includes taking the patient off the ventilator for increasing periods each day. During these times, humidified and oxygenated breathing gas is delivered to the patient through a tracheostomy collar/mask. Traditionally, this had been done using a cold aerosol mist to provide humidification. Vapotherm delivers breathing gas to the patient at body temperature and humidity. By using Vapotherm Precision Flow, patient secretions become thinner, which eliminates “trach” plugging. We’ve seen other positive outcomes including reduced average days on the ventilator, increased decannulation success rates, reduced infection rates and more. Gaylord is now recognized as a Vapotherm Center of Excellence.

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 their compromised respiratory status, tracheostomy and ventilator-dependent patients often are at greater risk of inhaling food or liquid into their respiratory system. An FEES study improves the ease and speed of patient evaluation and may allow a patient to safely eat earlier in their recovery process. The FEES uses a flexible scope, known as a laryngoscope, to assess the patient’s ability to swallow. Because the laryngoscope is portable, the patient can remain in his or her room while the study is being done.

When that is the case, our Pulmonary Team will work with the family to determine the best course of care after discharge from Gaylord. If the patient will be cared for at home, we will train the patient and his or her family in “trach” care, suctioning, home ventilator operation and emergency care. We can also help you select a home health company, check the home environment, and assist in making sure the ventilator is properly placed for patient comfort and safety. We can also contact local EMS and utility providers to alert them to the presence of a home ventilator. Our goal is to ensure that you receive the proper expert care you need.


Inpatient Admissions: (203) 284-2810

Inpatient Fax: (203) 294-8701

Vent Weaning Program: (203) 741-3364