Home mechanical ventilation is #AddingLifeToYears

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Respiratory Futures recently spoke to Nurse Consultant at the North-East Assisted Ventilation Service, Alison Armstrong. Below, Alison shares her knowledge about Home Mechanical Ventilation (HMV), and the recent creation of the Home Mechanical Ventilation in Partnership (HMViP) group.

What is HMV therapy, why is it important and what impact can it have on quality of life for patients and their caregivers?

Home Mechanical Ventilation (HMV) provides a way of supporting a patient’s breathing outside of a hospital setting. The intention of the treatment is to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life, and for some conditions it offers a survival advantage.  The treatment can help in conditions that damage the lungs, such as COPD, or conditions which restrict the movement of air into the lungs, such as neuromuscular disease and Kyphoscoliosis.

2.    Are there any innovations currently in the pipeline that aim to improve HMV in the future?

In terms of treatment technology, High Flow therapy (HFT)  is a well-established treatment used in acute respiratory care although this is fairly new in the community setting. There is currently a nationwide clinical trial underway to assess the viability of home HFT as a treatment for patients who have been hospitalised due to severe COPD exacerbation.

For HMViP, we’ve recently developed a poster for clinics to help patients find the resources which the site offers (image below). If you’d like us to add your service to our mailing list, please contact our secretariat Gill at gillian@wychwoodcommunications.com.

We would encourage staff in these clinics to display the poster so patients can access the HMViP resources through our QR code and website link. 

We’re also planning a patient leaflet for the Autumn and have recently added content to our website addressing: 

•    secretion management
•    tracheostomy ventilation
•    end of life care

We’re currently working on further content on:

•    spinal cord injuries
•    neuro-disability and respiratory health

3.    The HMViP website has a range of information – how can health professionals use this website to improve the quality of life for their patients?

We encourage healthcare professionals to share the link to the website with their patients so that they have access to the resources provided as and when needed. The website has lots of information from helping out with troubleshooting to providing guidance on areas such as secretion management, and also has a number of patient stories so those new to HMV can directly hear about the experiences of others. Hearing the patient perspective is critically important, and I believe enhances the care that clinicians deliver. 

In addition, we have an area on the website for clinicians. This has some pertinent resources and information which we plan to expand in our next phase of work.

4.    Recently we celebrated World Home Mechanical Ventilation (HMV) Day for 2024. This is the 2nd World HMV Day, and it had the theme of #AddingLifeToYears with the #HMVandMe campaign. Can you tell us a little bit about the day?

After launching the event in 2023, this year we were keen to demonstrate the benefits that HMV offers, and we feel that the most effective way to do this is to hear directly from the patients themselves, in their own voice. The result was a range of videos where patients enthusiastically shared how HMV allows them to live full and active lives, whether delivering a Ted lecture; managing a busy job in research; taking part in sport; seeing friends and family or simply getting refreshing sleep. Essentially, it enables them to live the way they want to, hence the hashtag #AddingLifeToYears

We’re sharing a link to Suzanne’s story below so your viewers can hear direct from a patient what HMV means to them.