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Frequent problems and their management among mechanically ventilated critically ill elderly patients

Watchara Tabootwong (Department of Gerontological Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Burapha University, Chonburi, Thailand)
Frank Kiwanuka (Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland)

Working with Older People

ISSN: 1366-3666

Article publication date: 8 March 2021

Issue publication date: 12 May 2021




Multiple pathologies and age-related physiological changes lead to acute respiratory failure. This necessitates mechanical ventilation among elderly patients. Mechanically ventilated critically ill elderly patients may confront various problems, including physical and psychological issues. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to present the frequent problems encountered by critically ill elderly patients and management of such problems.


This paper reviews relevant literatures.


Physical problems include pain and respiratory infections. Additionally, psychological problems include anxiety and stress. Such problems should be managed by physicians, nurses and family members. Pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches can be used to manage these problems. Pharmacological management involves use of medications, while non-pharmacological interventions include use of music therapy, acupuncture and sensory stimulation.


The paper indicates physical and psychological problems of mechanically ventilated critically ill elderly patients. To ensure effective management of complications encountered by mechanically ventilated elderly patients, health-care professionals ought to be aware of physical and psychological age-related changes.



Tabootwong, W. and Kiwanuka, F. (2021), "Frequent problems and their management among mechanically ventilated critically ill elderly patients", Working with Older People, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 123-130.



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