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Ventilator Programs

Our Experts Take a Comprehensive Approach to Ventilator Weaning

Shepherd Center's ventilator services program is led by an experienced and aggressive team of respiratory therapists and pulmonology/critical care physicians who work to wean patients off ventilators whenever possible to increase independence, activity, and comfort. 

How We Treat

Before we recommend ventilator weaning, our staff evaluates each patient's physical and psychological state.

Many patients with a spinal cord injury at the C-3 level or below have the potential to be weaned from the ventilator. Modalities such as biofeedback can be used in some instances to retrain the weakened muscles. The goal is wean patients off the ventilator and also teach them how to live an active and productive life post-injury.

For patients who need to continue to use a ventilator, Shepherd Center staff focuses on educating the patient on how to live an active lifestyle while also training each patient and their family members in home care techniques and health management.

Ventilator Weaning Outcomes

At Shepherd Center, we strive to assist our patients in improving function and achieving as much independence as possible. Our highly skilled rehabilitation team has an outstanding record of successfully weaning patients off ventilator dependency.

Percentage of Patients Weaned with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

In 2022, over 60% of ventilator patients with a SCI were weaned off of the ventilator.

  • C1-C2: 63%
  • C3: 90%
  • C4: 100%
  • C5-C7: 67%
  • T1-T12: 100%

Percentage of Patients Weaned with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)

In 2022, 92% of ventilator patients with an ABI were weaned off the ventilator.

Preparing for Ventilator Use at Home

At Shepherd Center, patients on ventilators begin wheelchair mobility as early as the patient can tolerate room air. Before leaving Shepherd, patients participate in community outings to help them become comfortable using their equipment outside the center and in a community environment.

Shepherd Center clinicians also train each patient and their family members in home care techniques and health management. Patients and their families receive detailed information educating them about the process.

For some patients on a ventilator, an implanted Diaphragm Pacing System (DPS) is an option for respiratory support. Learn more about a Diaphragm Pacing System (DPS)

Patient Stories

Devin Bateman, a former ventilator patient, celebrates Mother's Day with his mother Celeste.

Devin Bateman

After sustaining a spinal cord injury from a diving accident, Devin was successfully weaned off a ventilator with the help of rehabilitation at Shepherd Center.

Former Shepherd Center patient Reagan Martin and occupational therapist Leah Cardi chat in Shepherd Center’s Secret Garden.

Reagan Martin

While in the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program, Reagan was weaned off a ventilator and took her first post-injury swim in Shepherd Center's pool.