Explanation of how a mechanical ventilator works.

What is Ventilator Care?
A ventilator unit regulates the pressure, humidity, volume, and temperature of the air, depending on the controls that a doctor or respiratory therapist places. This allows healthcare professionals to control a person’s breathing and oxygen levels.

Why Choose Birkwood Fort Madison?
We are a leading provider that works closely with regional hospitals and medical clinics to offer ventilator patients a more homelike environment. With the help of certified Respiratory Therapists and under the guidance of our Medical Director, our goal is always to wean residents off of the ventilator with the hope that they can safely return home or be able to transfer to a facility closer to home.

Birkwood Fort Madison accommodates residents in need of long and short term ventilator support. Our 11-bed unit specializes in rehab to home with a focus on quality outcomes. In addition, we are able to offer noninvasive ventilation which delivers the positive pressure ventilation through a noninvasive interface (eg, nasal mask, face mask, or nasal plugs), rather than an invasive interface (endotracheal tube, tracheostomy).

Our ventilator program is covered under both Iowa and Missouri Medicaid and Medicare.

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Understanding Ventilator Care

How long will I need to be on a ventilator?
This is a difficult question to answer because it is dependent on many factors. Length of time can vary. Factors that impact this is dependent on the individual’s circumstances and their healthcare needs.

How long does it take to wean off a ventilator?
Depending on individual circumstances, it can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to months. When someone comes to us on a ventilator, we cannot start weaning until they are stable and meet the weaning criteria. From there, it is all about making sure the person is safe and doesn’t push themselves too hard.

What is the process for weaning off a ventilator?
The process for weaning varies from person to person depending on their diagnosis along with their age, body habitus, current ventilator settings, etc.

What are the stipulations for weaning off a ventilator?
An individual cannot start weaning until they are stable, so no antibiotics, and oxygen below 6LPM.

What do we need to do when we come home?
There are a number of things that can be done to get home sooner. At Birkwood Fort Madison, we have care plan meetings at the start of the stay to determine what goals need to be met in order to discharge home. If the individual wants to be completely decannulated the care when home is minimal. If they go home with a trach or vent, we can teach families and the individual how to do trach cares, suctioning, nebulizer treatments, etc. so that they have the most positive transition possible.