The ventilator-assisted individual. Cost analysis of institutionalization vs rehabilitation and in-home management

Chest. 1992 Jan;101(1):26-30. doi: 10.1378/chest.101.1.26.


The purpose of this article is to present a cost analysis of in-home vs institutionalization for severely physically disabled ventilator-assisted individuals (VAIs). Following rehabilitation and adaptation to noninvasive methods of ventilatory support, 30 VAIs were maintained in the community for 12.9 +/- 1.1 years with personal care attendants organized by a home care vendor reimbursed by New York City Medicaid. The program permitted self-directed severely disabled clients, including these 30 exclusively nontracheostomized VAIs, to live in the community and direct their attendant care and personal affairs. Prior to discharge home, the 30 patients resided in the respiratory unit of a long-term care facility for a mean of 8.9 +/- 10.1 years. The unit is currently reimbursed at a mean rate of $718.80 per patient per day. The current mean total cost of maintaining these VAIs in the community is $235.13 +/- 56.73 per patient per day. The conversion to and/or maintenance on 24-h nontracheostomy ventilatory support permitted discharge to the community by allowing the VAI to be attended by trained but uncredentialed home care attendants, thus avoiding prohibitively expensive in-home nursing for tracheostomy care. This created a savings to the public of 77 percent or $176,137 per year per client. We conclude that conversion to and/or use of noninvasive methods of ventilatory aid can be a reasonable and cost-saving goal. More respiratory rehabilitation centers are needed to free up hospital beds and facilitate discharge of VAIs to the community. There is also evidence that trained attendants should be permitted to suction tracheostomized VAIs in the home.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Home Care Services / economics*
  • Humans
  • Institutionalization / economics*
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / complications
  • New York City
  • Nursing Homes / economics
  • Respiration, Artificial / economics*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / rehabilitation
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy