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Observing the approaches to weaning of the long-term ventilated patients

Kydonaki, Claire (Kalliopi)




The weaning process from mechanical ventilation is a complicated issue for patients with respiratory failure who require long-term respiratory support. Although the application of weaning protocols reduces weaning time, and enhances patient outcome, little is known about the actual approaches that clinicians use for the weaning of these patients.


The purpose of this paper is to explore approaches to weaning of long-term ventilated patients in a Scottish Intensive Care Unit. The findings are part of a larger study on decision-making during the weaning of long-term ventilated patients.


Data were collected through participant observation and follow-up interviews with the nursing staff. Twenty-four-hour chart and medical notes review and informal conversation with the bedside nurse were also used to collect information on the weaning process.


Nine patients were recruited to the study. Two patients were extubated and three patients were extubated but then required a tracheostomy. A further four patients had a tracheostomy performed. Thematic analysis of the data showed that weaning was individualized, and physician led, regardless of the existence of the weaning protocol. Six different weaning approaches were identified. Nurses followed a conservative approach to weaning in comparison to doctors who appeared more aggressive.


There are many varieties in the approaches clinicians use when weaning long-term ventilated patients, which acts on the continuity of their care. A shift of focus to identify ways of maintaining continuity of care and a combined 'wake and wean' approach needs to be considered.


Kydonaki, C. (. (2010). Observing the approaches to weaning of the long-term ventilated patients. Nursing in Critical Care, 15, 49-56.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2010
Deposit Date Jan 20, 2016
Print ISSN 1362-1017
Electronic ISSN 1478-5153
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Pages 49-56
Keywords Decision-making; Long-term ventilated patients;
Mechanical ventilation; Weaning approaches;
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