Respiratory Support

Relieving your distress when you have trouble breathing on your own

When you can’t breathe, or when you struggle to breathe, it can be scary. Respiratory support helps you take in the oxygen you need and relieves your respiratory distress caused by trauma, after surgery or from another breathing problem.

Respiratory support services can be short- and long-term, noninvasive and invasive. They’re designed to provide you with the breathing support you need, and they include:

Oxygen therapy

Oxygen therapy is provided when you don’t have enough oxygen in your blood. A mask is placed over your nose and mouth or tubes are placed in your nose to deliver oxygen.

Noninvasive respiratory support

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines keep your airways open when your lungs aren’t working properly. You wear a mask over your nose and mouth that is connected to an air pump. The machine helps you take in more oxygen and keeps a constant air pressure in your airways. CPAP can be combined with oxygen therapy. Sometimes noninvasive respiratory support is safer than other therapies for critically ill patients.

Tracheostomy

A tracheostomy is a surgical procedure to create an opening directly into your trachea (the airway in your throat). This procedure is sometimes necessary for serious respiratory distress or respiratory failure. A tube connects the tracheostomy to a ventilation machine to provide you with air. You may not be able to speak normally with a tracheostomy, so a speech therapist will help you learn to communicate in another way.

Watch our series of videos by our respiratory therapists to learn more about tracheostomy care at home.

Endotracheal intubation

You might have endotracheal intubation if you need temporary respiratory support. A tube is inserted through your nose and down your throat, into your trachea. The tube is connected to a ventilation machine to help you continue to breathe properly. You will not able to speak or eat normally while you’re intubated, so you will receive help to communicate and get the nutrients you need.

Ventilator support

A ventilator breathes for you by pumping oxygen-rich air into your lungs and removing carbon dioxide. You might need ventilator support if you’re having surgery or have complete respiratory failure. A ventilator is attached to a tracheostomy or endotracheal tube.

Respiratory and speech therapists help you manage the side effects of having respiratory therapies, including coughing and having excess mucus.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a program that can help you learn to breathe easier and improve your quality of life. It is has two parts: Exercise and education:

  • Exercise training helps you to build strength and to get your energy back.
  • Education will help you learn about and manage your lung condition.

You can benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation if you or a loved one has any of the following diseases:

What to Expect for Respiratory Support Care

Respiratory support services can be short- and long-term, noninvasive and invasive. They’re designed to provide you with the breathing support you need, and they include:

Oxygen therapy

Oxygen therapy is provided when you don’t have enough oxygen in your blood. A mask is placed over your nose and mouth or tubes are placed in your nose to deliver oxygen.

Noninvasive respiratory support

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines keep your airways open when your lungs aren’t working properly. You wear a mask over your nose and mouth that is connected to an air pump. The machine helps you take in more oxygen and keeps a constant air pressure in your airways. CPAP can be combined with oxygen therapy. Sometimes noninvasive respiratory support is safer than other therapies for critically ill patients.

Tracheostomy

A tracheostomy is a surgical procedure to create an opening directly into your trachea (the airway in your throat). This procedure is sometimes necessary for serious respiratory distress or respiratory failure. A tube connects the tracheostomy to a ventilation machine to provide you with air. You may not be able to speak normally with a tracheostomy, so a speech therapist will help you learn to communicate in another way.

Watch our series of videos by our respiratory therapists to learn more about tracheostomy care at home.

Endotracheal intubation

You might have endotracheal intubation if you need temporary respiratory support. A tube is inserted through your nose and down your throat, into your trachea. The tube is connected to a ventilation machine to help you continue to breathe properly. You will not able to speak or eat normally while you’re intubated, so you will receive help to communicate and get the nutrients you need.

Ventilator support

A ventilator breathes for you by pumping oxygen-rich air into your lungs and removing carbon dioxide. You might need ventilator support if you’re having surgery or have complete respiratory failure. A ventilator is attached to a tracheostomy or endotracheal tube.

Respiratory and speech therapists help you manage the side effects of having respiratory therapies, including coughing and having excess mucus.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a program that can help you learn to breathe easier and improve your quality of life. It is has two parts: Exercise and education:

  • Exercise training helps you to build strength and to get your energy back.
  • Education will help you learn about and manage your lung condition.

You can benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation if you or a loved one has any of the following diseases:

What to Expect: Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Patient Stories for Respiratory Support

Tracheostomy Care at Home

Our Pulmonology & Respiratory Care experts share detailed instructions for tracheostomy care in this 17-part video series.

Resources

Tracheostomy Care at Home

Our Pulmonology & Respiratory Care experts share detailed instructions for tracheostomy care in this 17-part video series.