Noninvasive ventilation in general medical wards

Emilie Belley-Côté

Should noninvasive ventilation be accessible on general medical wards or should it remain restricted to intensive care units (ICUs)?

Emilie Belley-Côté, MD: I think it depends on the monitoring that is available on the wards. If the patients can be monitored to some extent with a sat [pulse oximeter] probe—if they can have saturation monitoring on their floor, we can probably keep them on the floor.

It depends also on the comfort of the staff—the respiratory therapists, the physicians managing the patients on the floor. In hospitals where the physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists are not comfortable managing these patients on their floor, they probably are better served in a critical care setting.

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