Communication regarding breathing support options for youth with Duchenne muscular dystrophy
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BACKGROUND: Ventilators for home use, manual and mechanically assisted coughing techniques, and the services of in-home respiratory therapists are options for youth with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Evidence supports the use of these modalities, but there seems to be few youth who are receiving these therapies. Is there a knowledge transfer issue? Is there a lack of resources? What is the best way to discuss the issues? What do youth and parents want? OBJECTIVE: To determine practices, attitudes and beliefs regarding the timing and content of client/family communication related to ventilatory support decisions for individuals with DMD. METHODS: A questionnaire was sent to all 19 children's treatment centres in Ontario. The lead clinician responded on behalf of his or her centre. Another questionnaire was given to 11 families who attended a parent support meeting. RESULTS: Respondents from the treatment centres who provide services for youth with DMD indicated that there are resources in terms of personnel and an obligation to provide information about ventilatory support, but provision of information is often late and/or inconsistent. The family respondents wanted more information and they wanted it earlier than they are currently receiving it. CONCLUSIONS: Parents and youth dealing with DMD have many resources at their disposal in Ontario. The evidence is clear that there are long-term health benefits to providing ventilatory support as well as instruction in coughing assistance. Due to the classical nature of disease progression in DMD, information should be provided within reasonable timelines.
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