Discharge of respiratory-compromised children after respiratory rehabilitation

Michal Katz Leurer, Eliezer Be'eri*, Dorit Zilbershtein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: There is a growing demand for respiratory rehabilitation services for children dependent on tracheostomy and/or chronic mechanical ventilation. Discharging these patients home following their rehabilitation can be an arduous process. Objectives: To define the length of time required to rehabilitate and discharge these patients, and to identify predictors of a prolonged or failed discharge process. Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of patients admitted to the Respiratory Rehabilitation Unit at Alyn Hospital, Jerusalem, over a 4 year period. Results: Of the 48 patients identified, 31 (64.7%) were eventually discharged, 13 (27.1%) remained hospitalized long-term, and 4 (8.3%) died during their hospitalization. The median length of hospitalization was 10 months: 6 months for purposes of rehabilitation therapy, and 4 months thereafter to resolve the logistics of discharge. Specific family characteristics - an unemployed father (odds ratio = 4.6, P= 0.02) and an additional family member with a disability (OR = 5.8, P = 0.03) - as well as ongoing mechanical ventilation at the time of discharge (OR = 5.5, P < 0.01) were found to positively correlate with a prolonged or failed discharge process. Conclusions: Hospitalization in a pediatric respiratory rehabilitation unit may be prolonged for both medical and non-medical reasons, with the process of discharge home being particularly difficult in certain subsets of patients. A proactive discharge policy by hospitals, improved community support services, and legislation defining the rights of home-ventilated children may facilitate more efficient discharge home of these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-476
Number of pages4
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Discharge
  • Home ventilation
  • Respiratory rehabilitation
  • Tracheostomy


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