Improving Your Quality of Life While Living on a Ventilator

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Patients with failure to wean from mechanical ventilation can enjoy many meaningful years while living on a ventilator. At Better Options, we want our residents to feel happy and fulfilled, and we do our best to help each one achieve his or her best quality of life.

Quality of life depends on many factors, including age, health condition and medical diagnosis, environment, activity, and attitude. For those living on a ventilator, necessary equipment and mobility must be factored in as well, but achieving a quality lifestyle for ventilator-dependent individuals is the same as for anybody—providing comfort, optimal health, enjoyable pursuits, and opportunities for social engagement and meaningful interaction.

Depending on medical condition and abilities prior to ventilator dependency, maintaining a satisfying and meaningful lifestyle can include social activities, community engagement, school, travel, and more.

At Better Options Ventilator Specialty Care, our goal is to facilitate achievable levels of independence for the best possible life for all of our residents. We strive to develop close bonds with our residents, as well as with their families and loved ones, to provide the kind of positive support that inspires positive attitudes.

It’s important for all ventilator patients to establish a daily routine of good healthcare habits that fit their unique circumstances and abilities. Plenty of rest, a nutritious diet, personal cares, and regular physical movement are the minimum expectations for patients living on ventilators.

Whether living in a care facility like Better Options or at home, ventilator patients can live with joy and vitality by working toward these simple outcomes.

A Place to Call Home

Where and how we live is an important consideration when determining quality of life. We all want a place that feels safe and comfortable, where we have autonomy and at least some level of decision-making.

Better Options is more than just a long-term care facility, we’re a home for our residents. Our two units, with six private bedrooms each, are located on a large, beautifully landscaped property, with decks, a gazebo, and large gardens for vegetables and flowers.

We provide a close, family-like environment that welcomes visitors. Our residents tell us they “feel safer and more relaxed” and are more comfortable in a family-home setting than in a hospital-like facility.

Personal Cares

Daily hygiene and personal cares are important to a feeling of overall wellbeing. We encourage and assist our residents in seeing to their own personal hygiene and grooming, providing any adaptive equipment that might be needed. Showering, grooming, and dressing not only get patients up and moving, they give them a sense of self-esteem and accomplishment—both essential to living a quality life.

Improving Your Quality of Life While Living on a Ventilator

Physical Movement and Exercise

Regular movement and exercise are important for building and maintaining muscle tone and stamina. Exercise also improves mental function and elevates mood. Toned muscle helps the body more efficiently utilize oxygen, an important consideration for those living on a ventilator.

We encourage our residents to keep moving by doing as much for themselves as they can—whether it’s everyday activities like getting around inside the residence, showering, grooming, and dressing, or venturing out of the residence for shopping, medical appointments, visiting friends, and socializing. And, of course, we work with each resident’s team of care professionals to facilitate recommended exercise or physical therapies. We’ve also installed ceiling lifts in each bedroom to ensure all of our residents can safely leave their beds every day.

Meals

Food provides enjoyment and quality of life for everybody, not just those living on ventilators. Nutritional support for those living on a ventilator is critical to maintaining good health.

Certain patients living on a ventilator have a high aspiration risk, and care must be taken to eat small amounts, slowly. Additionally, ventilator-dependent patients are not breathing through their noses or mouths. This can result in the loss of smell or taste, or both, possibly contributing to a loss of appetite when living on a ventilator.

We want residents to look forward to their meals. We provide three meals and two snacks a day that are visually appealing, nutritious, and chosen to meet any special dietary needs for other health conditions of individual residents.

Hobbies and New Skills

Enjoying hobbies and learning new skills can greatly enhance the quality of life. It can be especially important for those who may be feeling they’ve lost the future they envisioned before living on a ventilator.

Community classes and hobby clubs or groups are an excellent opportunity for learning new skills, as well as providing the opportunity for social engagement. Many local community centers, public schools, churches, universities, county extension offices, and economic development centers offer a wide variety of courses for enjoyment, education, and personal development.

If a patient’s mobility is restricted, online courses provide education and instruction in all fields and for all interests, much of it available at no cost and on self-paced schedules.

Social and Community Engagement

Social interaction with others is vital to our happiness and wellbeing in life. We have an open door at Better Options, always welcoming family, friends, and other guests to visit. Residents are free to see visitors on their schedule and in the privacy of their rooms or in common living areas, indoors and out. With prior scheduling, we can accommodate special occasions, celebrations, and small group events.

Our staff also provides transportation within the community at the resident’s request, to visit family and friends, go shopping, see a movie, attend classes or events, or see attractions.

Pets

At Better Options, we understand that pets enhance the quality of life for our residents by providing companionship, entertainment, and love. We welcome pets to live in our residences with certain conditions, including up-to-date vaccinations and compatibility with other resident pets.

Understandably, living on a ventilator is a big adjustment and can be overwhelming at first, but at Better Options, we’re committed to helping residents live their best lives. Contact us for more information on Better Options.

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