North East Assisted Ventilation Service

The North East Assisted Ventilation Service (NEAVS) based at the RVI provides a specialist regional service for more than 650 patients in the community who require long-term ventilatory support. The service has been established since the mid-1970s.  We provide specialist services as far north as the Scottish Borders, as far south as North Yorkshire and from the East to the West coast of England.  Half of our patients have neuromuscular problems with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Myotonic Dystrophy, Spinal Cord Injury and Motor Neuron Disease being predominant. In addition, there are significant numbers of patients with Central Sleep Apnoea, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea/Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome, COPD and chest wall deformities. 

The majority of our patients require ventilatory assistance at night and most receive this by a face mask. A smaller number of patients have a long-term tracheostomy for the purpose of ventilatory support. Some patients (both mask and tracheostomy) are completely ventilator-dependent. We also provide a comprehensive cough and secretion management service to the North East and Cumbria.  This service comprises provision and management of cough assist devices, lung recruitment devices and secretion management with medications and salivary Botox injections.  We provide a 24 hour support service for patients under our care.

As well as management of patients in the community, our service provides an inpatient service to the Trust, regular outpatient reviews and a region wide outreach and home visit service. We run clinics at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and at the Penrith Community Hospital.  We also provide a tertiary weaning service, offering advice and support to units in the region looking after patients with weaning delay or failure who might benefit from our expertise and service.

We work collaboratively within the Trust and the region and have strong links with the Clinical Genetics team based at the Centre for Life.  With the Specialist Paediatric Home Ventilation team we host a transition clinic for young adults whose care is being taken over by adult services. 

The North East Assisted Ventilation Service team consists of 3 medical consultants (all with critical care training), 1 nurse consultant, 4 senior specialist nurses, 1 senior physiotherapist, 2 healthcare assistants and 2 secretaries.  We recently received the Team of the Year Personal Touch award within the Trust, were specifically mentioned by the CQC as an outstanding service and have been the subject of a BBC documentary about supporting the independence of patients on ventilatory support in the community.

Our team has a significant national and international profile with our nurse consultant having delivered an invited series of lectures to the Home Ventilation team in Singapore.  NEAVS hosts the national non-medical benchmarking group (SiLVaH) at a yearly meeting in Newcastle which has just celebrated its tenth year.  We have written the curriculum for training of future consultants in Home Ventilation, sit on national committees leading the way in the provision of palliative care and tracheostomy ventilation in Motor Neuron Disease and have written guidelines on the provision of anaesthesia for patients with Muscular Dystrophy and Mitochondrial Diseases.

Any patient or carer who requires out of hours support from the home ventilation team should contact 0191 282 3153

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