Blogging Ventilators

Who knew? There are 1.5 million vent-dependent patients in America who can get information and support from the internet.

By Christine Contillo, RN, BSN
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Reading blogs and deciding which ones to recommend can be very tough. Like everyone else, sometimes what appeals to me depends on my mood at the time I’m reading it. If I take a second look later, I wonder what I was thinking. When I find an exceptional site I’m thrilled to be able to pass along the good news.

Gene Gantt, Livingston Texas, runs a website that might be helpful on a lot of levels. The address is and it would be of interest to patients, families, and the caregivers of anyone breathing with the assistance of a ventilator. I was surprised to find out that there are 1.5 million vent-dependent patients in America. In fact, Gantt keeps statistics on who visits his site and about half are family members while another quarter are RNs.

I worked in neurosurgery for a few years and one of my biggest fears was suctioning. Ventilators have made a lot of progress since then but can still be challenging, especially to family members trying to care for a vent-dependent patient at home. Gantt’s site has articles, news, and web links to additional sites that address end-of-life issues and locations of ventilator facilities. Something I found very promising was the discussion forum with a wide variety of topics. Caring for a person with a chronic disease can be a round-the-clock responsibility. While support groups can be helpful, many non-profit groups are finding that people just don’t have the time to sit down and spend face time with strangers. Phone and Internet-based groups, along with web-based discussion forums, are filling that gap, allowing for the exchange of information and support needed.

If you’re only in the mood for light reading, visit Since October 2005, a 24-year-old new grad has written about her experiences in NICU, and added lots of cartoons and inspiring quotes to remind us why we want to be the best nurses we can be. Sometimes an uplifting pat on the back is what we need to put down our coffee, head out the door, and begin another shift.

Christine Contillo, RN, BSN has worked as a nurse since 1979. Christine has written extensively for various nursing publications as well as the New York Times.

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