Being unable to breathe on our own is very scary. Spinal cord injuries, pneumonia, stroke, injury to the chest, muscular dystrophy and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can all bring on respiratory failure. Spinal cord injuries often happen when we least expect it — a surfing accident, a fall or a car accident — and may require you to be on a ventilator to breathe.
Persons diagnosed with chronic respiratory failure are at a higher risk for infection, and most patients require frequent tracheal suctioning, around-the-clock monitoring and are ventilator-dependent. When a loved one suffers from these complexities, it can be very heartbreaking and stressful, but knowing that a specialized team is providing the care needed for the best chance of recovery can ease that stress.
Skilled Nursing Facilities are medically licensed 24-hr care communities that can provide this specialty care. It’s important to learn about care options, so do your homework by inquiring with the right questions:
• Do they have state-of-the-art equipment?
• How long have they been providing respiratory care to ventilator-dependent individuals?
• Can they provide frequent tracheal suctioning and round-the-clock monitoring?
• Do they staff enough respiratory therapists and have a respiratory therapist director?
• Do they have a pulmonologist on board?