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This course will help prepare licensed non-ICU hospital clinicians to assist in the operation of a ventilator. Given the increasing number of patients contracting COVID-19 and developing pneumonia, the medical system is, and will continue to be, in dire need of licensed medical professionals who can assist in the operation of mechanical ventilators.

This course provides general information about mechanical ventilation. It is intended for licensed medical professionals. Patient needs and clinical care settings vary, and the information provided is not intended as medical, diagnostic or treatment advice. Ventilators should be used under the supervision of a qualified licensed medical professional. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for the particular device you are using and the product information sheet for any drug administered. This subject is complex and evolving. The authors and providers of this course do not warrant that the information provided is accurate in every respect or complete, and disclaim responsibility for your use and application of the information.

Mechanical Ventilation for COVID-19

This course will provide licensed medical professionals with an understanding of mechanical ventilation so they can support the critical care team caring for patients receiving mechanical ventilation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What you’ll learn

  • Principles and physiology of mechanical ventilation
  • Initial ventilator settings and adjustments
  • Troubleshooting the ventilator
  • Ventilating patients in special circumstances including Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and Obstructive Lung Disease
  • How to evaluate a patient for extubation readiness and conduct the extubation procedure
  • How standard ventilation practices are different in COVID-19 patients

Tiered Staffing Strategy for Pandemic

The Society of Critical Care Medicine’s (SCCM) is a strategic method for incorporating non-ICU-trained staff of all disciplines to enhance the reach of trained and experienced ICU staff. According to SCCM, “While pharmacists, dietitians, rehabilitation specialists, and other professionals are also key members of the ICU team, this model speaks to staff needed to address a pandemic requiring a dramatic increase in need for mechanical ventilation. As elective procedures are curtailed [during a pandemic], experienced perioperative clinical staff (eg, anesthesiologists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, operating room and post-anesthesia care unit nurses) may be available to support critical care services in hospitals with and without intensivists.”

The SCCM’s model recommends adding staff dedicated to the management of multiple ventilators, while other staff (experienced and additive) support the patient overall. According to SCCM, “While the ratios shown in the figure depict generally accepted models of critical care staffing augmentation, each hospital will need to adjust to its own demands for critical care while using its available supply of personnel.”

Following this model is key because having care directed by personnel with critical care clinical experience is an effective way to maximize care for drastic influxes of critically ill patients, as during pandemic conditions.


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