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What is LTMV?

LTMV stands for long-term mechanical ventilation.

This treatment takes into use mechanical assistive devices to ensure that the body can breathe if someone is unable to adequately breathe independently. It was previously called home ventilator therapy. Vanja’s mother tells her story:

Breathing with – text version

The thing with illness, being next of kin, that life, it started when she was 10 months. And then she died on the way to the ICU, but fortunately she didn’t have any diagnose so she was brought back to life because she was healthy.

Then I rinse it with salt water, we don’t use any gel or anaesthetic cream because it’s so fine, but many people use gel and things but we only use salt water to make it slide down on it. This one must then be bent to the side, you can’t pull it out. Earlier you could just pull it straight out but now you have to do like this.

Then we were sent back home, and were home just for a little while and then with a total crash, and with a respirator it was then that they started talking about tracheostomy and I thought that was a hard choice. I thought it was terrible to think about them cutting a hole in her throat, and put in a plastic tube, I thought it sounded horrible. Should I permit that? Should I not? Terrible choice, terrible choice. There’s something about it, you want her to live, you do everything you can and I thought that it’s better with a child with a tracheostomy than no child at all.

You count to three, and then you pull it out yourself.

We are alone with her each of us, but otherwise they are two, one welfare nurse and one nurse.

I’m really proud of the unit we belong to and the way they have welcomed us and the challenges connected to running this kind of, department Vollabakken as they say at the hospital. ICU, department Vollabakken. Because it is an ICU we’re running, it’s just that we take her out.

It’s something to think about when it comes to, if you can’t live the life you want to, I think you will be miserable with a tracheostomy, a respirator and those things. But I think it’s the responsibility of the society to contribute to solving this. It shouldn’t in any way be the burden of the person who has the tracheostomy.

What the National Professional Guidelines for LTMV say:

LTMV therapy is offered to a group of patients with chronic respiratory failure primarily cause by reduced power or impaired regulation of breathing. LTMV aims to increase the lifespan and/or improve the quality of life of patients.
After an initial assessment and start-up phase in hospital, LTMV is given in patients’ homes. Professional assessments will primarily be carried out by the specialist health service. Municipalities in cooperation with patients and close relatives are primarily responsible for adapting the execution of therapy outside hospital.

In terms of the execution of LTMV, the needs of patients vary. Approximately 10 per cent of the patients need around the clock assistance. For patients with a serious and possible progressive primary disease, an in-depth ethical and professional assessment will be required to determine whether LTMV should be started.

The guidelines aim to contribute towards:

  • providing a service based on equality, regardless of age, sex, domicile, socioeconomic status or ethnic origin, as well as
  • uniform and quality patient care.

Read more about the national guidelines for LTMV here:

Three LTMV users

We have interviewed three LTMV users to tell us how they feel about living with assistive respiratory devices. The user experiences might help you if you use an assistive respiratory device of know of someone who does or if you are employed as an assistant for such a user. It might be relevant if you are training to be a health professional or will soon be working for an LMTV user as an assistant. Or maybe you just want to learn more about this topic?
Often it is important to listen to the stories of those who need LTMV to gain a better understanding of how they feel about their situation. In the first part of the course, Living with the situation, you will meet Jørgen, Vanja and Øyvind, who live with respiratory support. You will also meet them later in the course.