The Intensive Care Society (ICS) and the British Thoracic Society (BTS) have collaborated to produce this document which provides guidance on the standards of care and infrastructure for Specialist Weaning Units (SWUs).
A SWU is an enhanced care area which enables the concentration of multi-professional skills to be delivered to patients with single organ respiratory failure who are invasively ventilated. Patients can be stepped down from critical care units to SWUs where they will receive high quality care to achieve weaning from invasive mechanical ventilation to the least invasive method of respiratory support. Whilst the primary role of these units will be to deliver high quality care; additional benefits will be to reduce pressure on critical care units to help deliver elective recovery.
This document has had wide stakeholder consultation and develops on previous guidance from several professional bodies including the Respiratory Support Unit guidance published by the BTS and ICS in 2021.
The document is comprised of the main text and 11 appendices. Within the main text of the document are quotes from patients and families about their time spent on critical care and on a SWU. The full text can also be found in appendices 1 and 2.
The other appendices in general reflect documents which are in current clinical use and can be adapted for local use.