To start our morning, William gets a nebulizer treatment of multiple medications including albuterol and pulmocort. These medications are administered through the ventilation tubing (circuit). This is done every morning and evening. In times of sickness the medications may be administered every four hours. The purpose is to loosen secretions so they can be suctioned out with a suction catheter.
The next videos show the shake vest. It is also called a smart vest or percussion vest. This vest uses a vacuum to inflate and deflate a wrap that goes around William's chest. The purpose of the vest is to shake out any mucus that might be stuck in the airways. William has to endure this for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night. We might do this more often if William has a respiratory infection. This is one of the machines that we believe had kept William out of the hospital. Notice the suctioning in the first video. Suctioning is done throughout the course of treatments to remove the secretions. A suction catheter is attached to a suction machine. The catheter is inserted directly into the trach.
After the breathing treatment and the shake vest we move to the cough assist machine. This machine blows air into the lungs with force and then sucks it out with force, mimicking a cough. The machine mimics five coughs and then the suction machine is used to pull out the loosened mucus. The process helps prevents mucus plugs. This machine is used immediately after the nebulizer treatments and shake vest. In tandem, these treatments remove the mucus that cause breathing difficulties. Again this is done twice a day with additional treatments as needed. The entire process takes about 45 minutes. So we spend at least 1.5 hours per day giving these treatments.