Prolonged Mechanical Ventilation

Advances in life prolonging interventions over the last 30 years have led to a rapidly growing subgroup of patients who are medically stable, but have not successfully weaned from the ventilator and require Prolonged Mechanical Ventilation (PMV).

Long term care of the ventilator-dependent patient is very costly to a state. While a small number of individuals are affected, the per-case cost is very high; as a result, the focus has most often been to provide this care at the lowest cost possible, with little expectation of improved outcomes. Unfortunately, this approach frequently increases the costs to payers over time, and a leads to a poor quality of life for care recipients.

Policy makers must address the increase in frequency of PMV as they project future workforce and resource allocation needs. Care strategies must be developed to accommodate these patients—strategies that recognize the intensive needs of this growing population, while also controlling costs by making delivery of care more efficient.