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2. Breathing with...

Reduced muscle power and actuated control of one’s breathing can lead to the need for respiratory support, so-called mechanical ventilatory support. Such treatment intends to increase the lifespan and/or improve the quality of life of patients. If you receive such therapy or are a friend/relative or work with someone who receives ventilatory support, you need to obtain some information and skills.

In this chapter you will be introduced to:

  • the principles of ventilatory support and how it can help breathing;
  • how the ventilatory support machines work;
  • how the treatment can be administered via a mask or tracheostomy;
  • why it is essential to cough correctly and what you can do with excess drooling;
  • preparedness for acute adverse events.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of this chapter, you will have acquired basic knowledge on what long-term mechanical ventilation is and the purpose of masks, tracheostomies and mouthpieces. You will also have learnt how to manage problems with drooling and acute adverse events.