Top Tips for Carers!

Becoming a carer for a patient using HMV can be quite daunting but here are some tips to follow which should make it a less frightening prospect.

Firstly, you’re not alone! 

Health care professionals are at the end of the phone to help if you have any concerns so it’s important that you contact your local respiratory team. You will be provided with details before you go home so ensure that you keep these in a safe place.

In addition, other carers, and patients, can be a good source of support and advice and most are more than happy to share their own experience and learnings. If you ask your health care professional, they should be able to put you in contact with other carers and they should help to put your mind at rest.

2. Ask questions!

If you have any queries, big or small, make sure you ask the health care team. They are on hand and want to make sure that you are comfortable looking after the patient.

3. It is possible to have a relatively normal life with HMV

Using HMV may extend life in certain conditions, but it is important that it doesn’t have a negative impact on quality of life and that it allows the patient to make the most of the time available.

The device can be portable and with a bit of planning, you can go out to lunch, meet friends or even go away on holiday. 

4. Planning

It is, however, important that you plan ahead if you are going outside of the home, If you need to use your HMV device during the day, you may need to take it with you when you go out.

This is very common practice for those who are more dependent on ventilation (such as patients with neuromuscular disease, or spinal cord injury etc) and probably less so for patients with COPD. However, in these cases, the right kind of ventilator and battery support can be provided by your HMV service. They will assess the risk and provide the correct equipment for that individual.

This will also be the case for those planning to go away on holiday or to visit friends or relatives.

Preparation ahead of an outing, for example, if you are going to a restaurant requesting a table near a plug, will ensure that you feel safe when away from home.

For those who use oxygen, this always needs to be taken when you leave the home.

Also remember to take spares of everything. This might seem daunting at first but it will become second nature to make sure that you have backups.