Drawing a Line in the Stats: Weaning Vs. Liberating
I recently attended a conference where I had the opportunity to meet with other executives in the Pulmonary Rehabilitation industry. One particular attendee informed me that his organization had a wean rate of approximately 85%. I was extremely impressed as our industry-leading rates are also above 85%. As we continued to talk, I came to realize his wean rate and liberation rate were two very different numbers.
It’s time for some much-needed clarification between these two terms. I believe many organizations’ definition of weaning refers to the process of removing all patients from ventilator care – regardless of the length of time they have been intubated or if they’ve received a tracheostomy. This includes the short-term ventilated patients postoperatively, or trauma patients who have required ventilator support short term. Compared to ventilator liberation, which in TriVent’s experience refers to a complex, long-term ventilator patient with tracheostomy who, safely and successfully, no longer needs mechanical ventilation. Upon further discussion with this executive, his actual liberation rate was only 56%, not 85%.
This interaction led me to change how TriVent Healthcare defines our services. When we refer to the successful weaning of a patient from a ventilator we will now use the term liberation rate, which leaves no room for confusion.
If you ever find yourself speaking with a healthcare provider about ventilator care services and don’t hear the term liberation rate, ask them about it. After all, ventilator liberation is the end goal and that’s exactly why we use this term over wean rate.