Physical Therapy for Patients with Tracheostomy Using a Passy Muir® Valve

The Passy Muir ® Valve plays a very critical role in the rehabilitation of tracheostomy and ventilator patients of all ages across the continuum of care. You are probably aware of the importance of the valve for communication and swallowing rehabilitation.

However, you might not be as familiar with the many pulmonary and physical rehabilitation benefits that the Passy Muir® Valve provides.

Larry, Spencer, and Bob perform therapy utilizing the Passy Muir® Valve

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Begins in the ICU

When the term “pulmonary rehab” is mentioned, most practicing healthcare practitioners conjure up images of patients performing six minute walks, exercise while seated using an arm cycle, or laps walking on a track hooked up to an oxygen saturation and heart rate monitor. While this description may generally be true, it applies to patients who have already recovered, maybe even to the point where they have been discharged to home and are traveling to a facility for pulmonary rehab.

What about pulmonary rehab for patients in the hospital or in ICU? Recently, much has been written about early mobilization of patients in the ICU, not just range of motion and exercising while remaining in bed or standing at the bedside. Although more study needs to be done in this area, there appears to be a correlation between earlier mobilization of patients and improved outcomes. To take this a step further, what about stable tracheostomized and/or mechanically ventilated patients in the hospital or the ICU? Can they participate in pulmonary rehabilitation and early mobilization? Of course, the answer is YES! The patient with a tracheostomy both on and off mechanical ventilation can achieve the same benefits as any other patient. There are some things to consider however, including coordination of therapies, especially between the respiratory care practitioner (RCP) and the speech language pathologist (SLP).
Read more in the Fall 2011 issue of Talk Muir.

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