Rehabilitation of ventilator-dependent subjects with lung diseases. The concept and initial experience

Chest. 1984 Sep;86(3):358-65. doi: 10.1378/chest.86.3.358.


Sixteen ventilator-dependent patients were enrolled in an in-patient pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) program in a university medical center with the goals of achieving independent self-care, mobility and discharge home. Ten patients had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and six had restrictive respiratory disorders. PR by a multi-disciplinary team consisted of five phases: 1) stabilization; 2) evaluation; 3) rehabilitation planning including motivation by allowing speech and mobility; 4) rehabilitation training encouraging independent performance of activities of daily living (ADL); and 5) discharge planning with training of patients and families in home respiratory care techniques. A key aspect of the program is improving independence early in the program through the use of mobile ventilators. Periods of weaning from ventilatory support for two or more hours per day were of great importance in improving patient mobility and independence in ADL. Twelve patients were discharged home; except for two individuals who were severely limited by neuromuscular disease, all patients were largely independent in ADL in the home. This preliminary report demonstrates the feasibility of training ventilator-dependent persons to be independent and to participate in their own care in the home.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Discharge
  • Respiration, Artificial