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Topics in Practice Management |

Current Issues in Home Mechanical Ventilation*

Joseph S. Lewarski, BS, RRT; Peter C. Gay, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

*From the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN.

Correspondence to: Joseph S. Lewarski, BS, RRT, Vice President of Clinical & Governmental Affairs, Inogen, Inc, 6120 Parkland Blvd, Suite 304, Mayfield Heights, OH 44124; e-mail: jlewarski@inogen.net



Chest. 2007;132(2):671-676. doi:10.1378/chest.07-0558
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As modern health care continues to evolve, we expect and are seeing that more sophisticated medical care will be provided outside the traditional acute care environments. Advances in home medical technology, economic pressures, health-care consumerism, and societal changes are all factors playing a role in this evolution. Medically fragile and technology-dependent individuals who were once limited to care in acute and subacute institutional settings are now frequently cared for at home, most often by their immediate family members. Mechanical ventilation has found its way into the patient’s home such that physicians and other providers must be prepared for the challenges associated with managing the conditions of complex, ventilator-dependent individuals outside of the walls, controls, and safety of the institutional setting. With little published science and recognized standards of practice, there are fewer rules to guide clinicians through this process. Experience has shown, however, that successful home management of ventilator-dependent individuals can be traced to a smooth and collaborative discharge from the hospital to home. Reimbursement and coverage issues must also be well understood to avoid the aggravation of denials and challenges for necessary equipment and assistance. Once home, a streamlined, patient-centered process supported by effective communication between all care providers can result in a safe and appropriate long-term home ventilation success story.


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