Adult Chronic Respiratory Care

Herzog’s Long Term Respiratory Care Unit for Adults is the largest of its kind in the country, providing care for over 80 adult patients who are unable to breath on their own.

Due to constant pressure and demand for more beds, the department continues to grow and expand. In the last year alone there have regularly been 10-15 patients on the waiting list to be hospitalized. The need is growing rapidly as a result of medical technology’s rapid advance, enabling doctors to treat victims of accidents and disease where previously there was no help.

The dilemma confronting long-term respiratory patients in general hospitals throughout Israel is significant. Generally, respiratory patients requiring long-term respiratory support have to be maintained on a respirator within either a hospital or, in some cases, at home. These patients can be of all ages, ranging from small children up to the elderly. General acute-care hospitals have serious difficulty in providing beds for such long-term care patients because they are dedicated to acute and intensive care. When they cannot be sent home such patients “block” the beds and are either sent to nursing homes which are of course not designed for such patients or are left to deteriorate slowly of breathing problems, because of the inability to support them on respirators. In 1998 the Herzog Hospital opened up a small 4-bed respiratory unit. Until that time there was only one other center (located in Tel Aviv) which could handle such cases. These four beds were immediately filled. Since then what started as a small unit has grown to occupy over 100 beds in the hospital. As a result of the expertise that the hospital staff developed, many of the patients who previously had been “given up” for “lost” by the medical services have been rehabilitated and weaned from the respirators, enabling them to return home or, at least, to “graduate” to a nursing department. Currently many of the patients are now occupying beds in the acute geriatric medicine departments, in addition to those in the dedicated departments, which are already operating beyond capacity. This means that these respiratory patients cannot benefit from the optimal care framework of a dedicated department on the one hand and, on the other, deny beds to those patients requiring acute care. So as to answer the need, two new Respiratory Care Departments of 28-30 beds each have been constructed and occupy the fifth floor of the new Pavilion. This gives these patients, for the first time, a custom designed and equipped environment to enhance their chances of a recovery.