Patient Information: Female, Age 68
Diagnosis: Respiratory Failure
History: This woman was referred to a skilled nursing facility due to severe deconditioning following a two-month hospitalization for pneumonia, during which she experienced respiratory arrest and required ventilation by tracheostomy intubation (surgical procedure inserting a breathing tube through the trachea to restore breathing).
Diaphragmatic breathing helps individuals use their diaphragm correctly while breathing and enhances oxygen exchange (Cleveland Clinic, 2020). With age, stress, poor posture, and illness breathing changes and becomes shallow with increased reliance on accessory muscles. Implementing diaphragmatic breathing may help improve oxygen delivery throughout the body, use less effort and energy to breathe, and decrease overall oxygen demand.
Topics: Employee Spotlight
Patient Information: Male, Age 65
Diagnosis: Stroke / Oropharyngeal Dysphagia
History: This gentleman was admitted to a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation services following hospitalization due to a stroke. He was diagnosed with oropharyngeal dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). His swallow initiation was inconsistent and he had difficulty managing his own secretions. He could not take any food or liquid by mouth and a feeding tube was placed. Prior to his stroke, he ate a regular diet.
Patient Information: Male, Age 69
Diagnosis: Chronic Heart Failure / Muscle Weakness / Kidney Failure
History: This man was admitted to a skilled nursing facility after a seven day hospital stay due to a decline in his ability to care for himself and his wife. He was referred to occupational and physical therapy to improve his strength and function, with the goal to return home and resume his role as the primary caregiver for his wife.
Part 1: Ethics and Considerations in Patient and Caregiver Perspectives
Primary respiratory muscles during normal quiet breathing include the diaphragm and external intercostals. Accessory muscles of respiration assist the primary muscles when the chest is not expanding or contracting effectively to meet ventilation demands. Increased age, stress, poor posture, COPD, pneumonia, and illness are conditions that negatively impact proper oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange in the lungs.
Individuals who present with a compromised pulmonary system, are acutely ill, or hospitalized for extended periods may become deconditioned or develop hospital-acquired muscle weakness, among other deleterious effects. Even healthy individuals may become deconditioned and frail if they decrease their activity level due to social distancing and limiting time outside their room or home.
Patient Information: Male, Age 79
Diagnosis: Right Ankle Fracture / Gastrointestinal (GI) bleed
History: This gentleman was referred to a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation services due to weakness and reduced functional mobility after hospitalization for a right ankle fracture (from a fall) and a GI bleed. Prior to hospitalization, he used a rolling walker to ambulate and lived in a 2-story home with a roommate who helped with household tasks.