Assisted Ventilation Clinic

A ventilator is a machine that assists with breathing. For people who require ventilatory support, whether part- or full-time, home ventilators can be life-sustaining and allow patients to receive long-term care in their homes.

At the Assisted Ventilation Clinic, jointly staffed by Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the University of Michigan, we provide comprehensive, coordinated care for people using home ventilators. From patient assessments to ventilator maintenance, our team approach ensures that all patients’ issues are addressed in a coordinated visit.

Ventilator Support for a Variety of Conditions

Ventilatory support may be required for a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Neuromuscular diseases such as ALS, muscular dystrophies, and multiple sclerosis
  • Spastic cerebral palsy
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Obesity hypoventilation syndrome

There are two types of ventilatory support: invasive and noninvasive. Invasive support means the ventilator is connected to a tube placed from an opening in the neck into the trachea (created by tracheostomy). Noninvasive support means the ventilator is connected to a mask that covers the nose, nose and mouth, or entire face. The decision for invasive or noninvasive ventilatory support is based on a number of factors, including how well a patient can tolerate the mask, the severity of the underlying disease, and a patient's ability to clear secretions from the lungs.

Comprehensive Ventilator Services in One Location

Because the majority of our patients have multiple severe disabilities, we provide a one-stop shopping format, so that when they come to the clinic, they’ll see multiple providers during a two-hour visit, including:

  • A Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine physician or nurse practitioner for management of breathing problems
  • A Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation physician or physician assistant for all general care regarding disabilities
  • A Respiratory Therapist to handle any issues with the ventilator equipment
  • A dietitian for nutrition support services
  • A social worker to help provide social support and navigate complex insurance

The multi-discipliinary Assisted Ventilation Clinic meets on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons in the Taubman Center at the Medical Center Main Campus. We have two procedure rooms fully equipped with lift systems and hydraulic tables for safe patient transfers and weight assessments, as well as the necessary facilities for tracheostomy changes and wound care.

We have a robust telemedicine program that has been active for years, given the difficulty with mobility that many patients on ventilators face. Telemedicine, as well as in-person sick visits, are available throughout the week with our nurse practitioner, as we know that promptly addressing clinical changes can be the key to avoiding hospitalization.

In addition, we partner closely with the ALS Center of Excellence Pranger ALS Clinic. Patients with ALS are seen on Wednesdays with the multi-disciplinary ALS team.

Meet the Team

For physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, click on the "Physicians" tab or go to our Assisted Ventilation Clinic Physicians/Providers page.

Respiratory Therapists

  • Elizabeth Downer
  • Karen Du Long
  • Armando Kurili

Registered Dietician

  • Emilie Klemptner

Social Worker

  • Mari Pitcher

Patient Services Associate

  • Jonathan Morabito

Make an Appointment

To learn more about our Assisted Ventilation Clinic or to make an appointment, call us at 888-287-1084.

Fax number: 734-936-3494