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ISRN Rehabilitation
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 756103, 15 pages
Review Article

Rehabilitation Considerations for Children Dependent on Long-Term Mechanical Ventilation

Research Center for Children with Special Health Care Needs, Franciscan Hospital for Children, 30 Warren Street, Boston, MA 02135, USA

Received 12 November 2012; Accepted 28 November 2012

Academic Editors: A. Ozcan Edeer and C. Zwingmann

Copyright © 2012 Helene M. Dumas. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The purposes of this paper are as follows (1) to describe the prevalence, etiology, and care settings for children dependent on long-term mechanical ventilation (MV); (2) to provide a brief introduction to MV and weaning; (3) to explore health care utilization and cost of care; and, primarily, (4) to discuss the rehabilitation needs of children dependent on long-term MV including activities of daily living, mobility, communication, psychosocial needs, and recreation and leisure. Children with ventilator dependence are a growing segment of the population of children with special health care needs and often require rehabilitation services. MV is a form of life-saving technology that substitutes for or assists a child’s respiratory efforts. Goals for use of MV vary and there are many combinations of MV elements that can obtain desirable results. No standards of care exist for the rehabilitation examination or interventions utilized for children with long-term MV dependence and it remains unclear what effect MV has on the achievement of developmental milestones, daily activities, and participation in daily life.