Table 1—

Key competency areas for use of noninvasive ventilation(NIV) equipment

1) Basic information includes: why the patient requires NIV, the degree of ventilator dependency (how long they can safely manage without their ventilator if it malfunctions), the purpose of alarms, servicing and maintenance plans, who to contact if the ventilator breaks down and how to order spares for the equipment (masks, tubing, filters, etc.).
2) Practical aspects. Patients must be able to turn the ventilator on and off, put the mask on and off, and assemble mask and headgear after washing. They must also demonstrate that they can change the circuit, and lock and unlock the ventilator if they need to change settings with instructions over the phone.
3) Technical information. We also ensure that each patient knows the precise model of their masks and ventilator and have received standard information, including the manufacturer’s handbook, the correct telephone numbers to re-order spares, and the emergency helpline number for ventilator breakdown or problems.
4) Additional, more complex competency training is provided for patients with a tracheostomy and their carers/families. This includes training in tracheostomy tube changing and care, use of suction machines, heated humidification and problem-solving, e.g. dealing with blocked or displaced tubes (this is beyond the scope of this paper). Tracheostomy intermittent positive pressure ventilation patients frequently have a high level of ventilator dependency and therefore require back-up ventilators, suction machines, etc.