Providing bespoke care nationwide for clients with spinal injuries and neurological conditions
Going home from hospital with new care needs can be daunting for everyone involved. The intervention that we hear the most questions about is one of the most complex: home ventilation.
This is a naturally emotive issue as breathing difficulties can be some of the most frightening, both to the person having the problem and their families. Added to that is dependence on a piece of equipment that, at first, looks very complicated and technical. Like all technology, however, a little practice and education make its use second nature.
Home ventilation doesn’t have to be daunting, and transitioning from a full-time care setting like hospital or a rehabilitation unit into your home will involve a lot of learning for everyone. Anyone going home with additional needs and their caregivers will be given ample time and support with equipment and care techniques alongside experts in a safe environment.
The aim of community care is to enable people to live safely and comfortably in their own homes, with all their needs supported. As more intensive care needs are being met in the community, we’re seeing huge improvements in people’s quality of life, a reduction in hospital admissions, and an improvement in the long-term health of people with complex needs.
The planning for a complex discharge to home care usually starts in hospital or in a specialist rehabilitation unit, where representatives of all aspects of your care discuss the best way to get you home safely. Total Community Care’s care managers can get involved in this process as early as possible and start to plan for your care. They will work with you to assemble the right team of nurses, carers and other healthcare professionals for your needs once you’re home.
Your team both in hospital and in the community will work together to create the best environment for you to come home to. No two people are the same and our assessments, plans of care and the teams we assemble reflect that. When it comes to ventilation and assisted breathing, different people have different needs.
We work with a range of clients; some are more and some less dependent on mechanically assisted breathing, and we work with people needing different ventilation pressures, different oxygen concentrations, different types of mask and a whole spectrum of variables.
People’s reasons for needing mechanical ventilation can be varied, too. We work with clients with high spinal cord injury, clients with tracheostomies, those who have breathing difficulties due to neuromuscular conditions or chest wall and diaphragm problems, and more.
Conditions needing ventilation may be stable or progressive. The team that Total Community Care help you assemble will include professionals able to continually assess changes in condition or needs and make adjustments or recommendations accordingly.
The equipment for mechanically assisted breathing can look quite technical at first, but it’s easy once you know how. The most basic requirements for set up at home are a dedicated – and organised – area for the equipment and access to electrical sockets. Access to reliable telephone lines is also essential, for advice and troubleshooting.
Whichever ventilator system is decided as best suited for your needs, consideration will also be given to make sure it can be used outside your home environment in the wider community. It is important to remember that the equipment is designed to facilitate independence whether for jobs, leisure activities or travelling. Full support and training will be given to you and your support team to enable this.
When your respiratory needs are stable, the appropriate equipment will be set up at your home. This will include:
There are a wide variety of ventilators, and you, your caregivers and team will be able to learn to use your particular model.
Whether your ventilation care is entirely met by trained carers and professionals, or whether your family or other informal caregivers want to take a bigger role in the handling of the equipment can influence the way we arrange care.
Living at home with any degree of dependence on a ventilator requires extra thought and care, but can be managed with excellent results. You are likely to need input from lots of different members of a multi-disciplinary team while being stabilised on ventilation in an acute care setting, and some of these professionals will be on-hand for regular check-ups and expert advice.
Some of the people you are likely to have input from when preparing for home ventilation include:
Total Community Care creates a bespoke service for each of our clients, and we aim to work as closely as possible with other allied health professionals to ensure that your care is seamless and worry-free.
We understand that going home with mechanical ventilation can be nerve-wracking, but you’re not alone; your specialist team may be able to point you towards local support networks. The internet can be a valuable tool for finding support and information, and there are online support groups for almost every condition and treatment. Remember that the quality of material online can vary, and your support team should be able to help you find good sources for information and help.
Ventilator-dependent people have been able to live safely at home for many years now, improving quality of life and reducing the risks associated with lengthy or repeated hospital admissions. Risk assessment and management is an important part of any care plan and decision making, and is part of an individualised plan.
Management of equipment, safe suctioning and tracheostomy care will all be part of comprehensive hands-on training for anyone involved in this kind of care.
Some of the most common concerns we hear from ventilator clients and their families planning complex home care include:
Part of your personal care plan includes specific risk assessments, and written plans for any foreseeable potential problems. If you have any worries that you think haven’t been addressed, we’re on hand to discuss and plan for anything that’s troubling you.
Total Community Care works closely with our clients to put together the right team for each person. Our staff receive a training package which exceeds the usual requirements for home carers. We feel that creating an individual team and care package for and with each of our clients means that we get the best people for each placement. It also means that we can tailor the training our staff receive to best suit the people they help to care for. We’re here to make everything that little bit easier for you.