It's finally here: The day you get to take your child home. Whether they've been in the hospital since birth or recovering from a surgery, illness, or injury, you're counting down the hours until you get to walk out the hospital doors with your child. As excited as you may be, you might also be nervous because your child is going home on a ventilator. We're here to make that transition as easy as possible and will provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to feel confident caring for your child.
Our Home Ventilator Program is a great resource to help answer your questions, troubleshoot problems and know when to adjust your child's settings. We'll meet with your child on a regular basis as they need us—this could be every couple of months or just once a year. During your child's appointment, we'll make sure all equipment is working properly and address any concerns you may have.
Together, we'll work for your child's healthy and safe, reduce hospital visits, and improve their quality of life. Learn what you can expect at your child's first appointment at our Home Ventilator Program.
Making an Appointment at the Home Ventilator Program
We welcome any family with a child on a ventilator at home to make an appointment at our clinic. We also accept referrals from outside hospitals. Most of our patients do come from the Transitional Care Center (TCC) at Cincinnati Children's. If your child is a patient in the TCC, prior to going home your child will have an appointment scheduled in our clinic within 30 days of discharge.
If your child has not been a patient at Cincinnati Children's, our pediatric home ventilator coordinator will contact you to learn more about your child, including:
- Health history
- Ventilator settings
- Respiratory support
- Airway clearance
- Previous testing and procedures
- Current symptoms
We will also ask you to send your child's medical records to our department. Our coordinator will provide details on what we need and how you can send it to our team. Then, we will assign one of our experienced pulmonary providers and nurses to your child. Our coordinator or your child's nurse will then schedule your appointment at the clinic.
On the Day of Your Visit to the Home Ventilator Program
We know it can be stressful to take any child to the doctor. When your child has a complex medical condition and needs airway support, it can make the experience even more overwhelming. We're here to make your visit to our clinic as simple as possible.
Before Your Appointment
We'll give you a call about one week before your appointment to remind you of your scheduled time and answer any questions you may have. We'll also share a list of things you need to bring to the clinic, including:
- Both ventilators
- Emergency trach bag
- Suction machine
Please plan to arrive about 20 minutes before your appointment to park and walk to the clinic (outpatient visits take place in the main hospital, Burnet campus, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, fifth floor of location C).
Please call your provider's nurse if you are running late.
At Your Appointment
During your child's visit, you'll meet with several members of their care team each with a specific role:
- A medical assistant will take your child and you back to the exam room. They will get your child's vitals (weight, height, oxygen saturation, respiratory rate, heart rate, blood pressure). Then, they'll ask you a few questions about your child's health history, including any recent surgeries, respiratory status, diagnoses, medications, and reason for your visit.
- A respiratory therapist will complete a ventilator profile to evaluate your child's respiratory status, ventilator settings and tracheostomy tube.
- Your child's physician will have an in-depth conversation with you about your child's health history and will perform a physical exam. You'll also discuss recent test results and treatment recommendations for your child.
- A dietician may stop by to discuss your child's dietary needs and offer recommendations or suggestions to help ensure your child is getting the nutrients they need.
- A social worker may also visit to discuss any challenges you may be facing and connect you with resources if needed.
- Your child's registered nurse will then meet with you to discuss the next steps and help connect you with departments or providers your child will need to see.
Appointments typically last about two to three hours.
After Your Visit to the Home Ventilator Program
You will receive an “After Visit Summary” before you leave, which includes important information about upcoming appointments or tests. We'll also share when your child will need to come back to the Home Ventilator Program. Depending on their needs, that may be in a few weeks, months, or as long as a year.
If your child has an upcoming surgery or test, their treatment plan may need to be changed based on the procedure and results. Your child's nurse will call you within a week of the procedure to share any new instructions for your child's care.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns after your appointment. You can call your child's nurse directly or you can send a message through MyChart.