Nurses must be knowledgeable about the function and limitations of ventilator modes, causes of respiratory distress and dyssynchrony with the ventilator, and appropriate management in order to provide high-quality patient-centered care. Prompt recognition of problems and action by the nurse may resolve acute respiratory distress, dyspnea, and increased work of breathing and prevent adverse events. This article presents an overview of mechanical ventilation modes and the assessment and management of dyspnea and patient-ventilator dyssynchrony. Strategies to manage patients’ responses to mechanical ventilatory support and recommendations for staff education also are presented.

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