VentWorld
how to maximize mom's chances to wean

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August 24, 2006, 07:36 AM
teri
how to maximize mom's chances to wean
My mom has been on a vent for 5 mos -the last 3 in a rehab facility. several times she has been at the point of eating solid food, speaking and walking- she has had a setback; pneumonia twice, C-def, staph, and adema. This past week she began repeating herself, having delusions, etc. She is not at all herself and lucid. They would like to put her on Seroquel but we hate to see her on more meds! This started with bronchitis (she is 79) and has just kept snowballing once they put her on the vent- in the beginning. Then came the tracheostomy and then one issue after another. We simply don't know what to do to help! We'd like to just take her home and have the nursing care given there, but I read and hear such conflicting things. 5 months ago, my mother was living in her own apt, driving and getting around with some portable oxygen tanks.
August 30, 2006, 10:30 AM
<Kristina>
Terri,
PLEASE have the doctors check for a simple bladder infection. This has happened to my best friend,also known as my grnadma, a few times now. She starts talking crazy and even imagines she has left her room during the night or even goes home with the nurses.
Also, another concern is her not getting the "bad gases" out. Tell her to breathe with you and blow out with her periodically. This has really helped us with this new experience and hopefully it can help with yours. Keep your faith because God is listening!
September 01, 2006, 05:48 AM
GaryMefford
Teri,
your mother is in the difficult place so many elderly can find their selves in so easily. She seemed so vital, but was quite possibly more fragile than could have been realized. I hope that she is doing much better. In my opinion she already has the thing what will maximize her chances and that is a good support system in you. Sometimes delusional behavior is a part of serious illness. You can ask her care givers on ways to best redirect her back to reality as much as possible. Medications are not started frivolously. Find out the reasons and the side effects from the physician or nurse, but they want your mother well too and in my experience are acting in the patient's best interest to the best of their experience. If it is your goal to take your mother home, let the care team know. It sounds like at the point in her illness you posted, it might be very complicated. Caring for a vent dependent, very ill person at home is never a simple issue, and takes much planning, training and huge amounts of dedication of time and resources. I hope as is often the case that time is the answer for your mother. With time and care infections can clear, nutrition and therapy can result in strength gains and weaning will happen. There is also the reality that so many face when this point is reached, and difficult decisions have to be made on continuing or stopping when progress obviously becomes impossible. Follow your heart if you have come to this point. Time really can bring much improvement in many cases. I hope your mother has weaned or is well on her way to a successful wean, and will be headed home soon.
October 05, 2006, 11:02 AM
<Dave Tolle RRT,RCP (ret)>
Teri... People become vent dependent for many reasons. Some lose the nerve control for otherwise normal lungs while others have lung disease advanced enough to require mechanical support. I assume from your post that your mother falls into the latter category. These diseases are many but usually it is tobacco related COPD that puts people in this position. The work of breathing with COPD is greatly increased. Once on a mechanical ventilator they experience breathing with much less work and psychologically refuse to re-accept the cost of breathing on their own..and they become vent dependent..and this is somewhat understandible. Others have COPD so advanced that there's not enough lung left to viably support life. It's impossible to learn where your mom disease status is at here. Her prospect to wean or her potential for vent dependent functionability depends on the caliber of her care providers and her desire/will. I can say that she could learn to speak using the vent (like the late Christopher Reeves) and can be as functional as any quadriplegic using mecahanical assist devices (wheelchairs, etc...). Sorry to learn of your circumstance and best to you and your mother.