Non-invasive ventilation (NIV) at home explained

Information for patients from the Respiratory Team


This leaflet provides information, care, and advice on your home non-invasive ventilation (NIV).

Please keep this leaflet with your device, as it contains useful information about your treatment. This will be very useful if you are admitted to hospital or you become unwell.

What is non-invasive ventilation (NIV)?

Non-invasive ventilation (NIV) is a treatment to help with your breathing. It involves wearing a mask connected to a device, which makes your breathing in and out easier and supports the muscles which makes your lungs work. It is generally worn at night, while you are asleep.

The mask you have been given has been selected to fit your face, and the device has been specifically set for your breathing. The details of these settings are recorded below. Please keep this information, as it will be useful to sort out any problems quickly.

You have been issued with a:

To switch the device on you press and release the long on / off button on the top of the device.

To switch the device off you need to press and hold the log on / off button on the top of the device.

Why have I been recommended for this treatment?

What does NIV feel like?

In order to use this type of ventilator you will need to wear a face mask which fits firmly, but not too tightly. As you breath in, you will feel a flow of air from the device to support your breathing. As you breathe out you will feel a little resistance, which is there to keep the small air passages of your lungs open. This helps to improve the oxygen levels in your blood.

It can feel a bit strange to start with, but most people find that they get used to it fairly easily.

How do I care for my device and mask?

Frequently asked questions

Q Can I survive a night without my ventilator?

A This depends on why you need your ventilator in the first place. Most patients can spend one or two nights off their device. You may be more uncomfortable than usual and your symptoms of tiredness and headache may re-appear, but this is rarely dangerous. For some patients it is not advisable to spend any nights off the ventilator, this will be discussed with you when you are set up on therapy.

Q Does my ventilator need a service?

A No, your device does not need a yearly service. We will do a visual check of the plug and adaptor, to make sure the case is still intact and there are no bare wires. If there are any issues with your device, you just need to contact us.

Q My ventilator does not feel comfortable or gives me a breath at the wrong time. Is this ok?

A If your device does not feel right, you should contact the NIV team on 01227 866402. We can make changes to make sure your therapy is comfortable.

Q Do I need to bring my NIV to hospital with me if I am admitted?

Yes, we recommend that you bring the device, mask, and tubing with you to hospital.

Q Should I use my ventilator in the daytime?

A If you want a nap or have a chest infection, it may be a good idea to use your ventilator during the day as well as at night. You will not become dependent on it and you may gain relief from wearing it.

Q Is there anyone I can contact out of hours if there is a problem with my ventilator or breathing?

A If you are unwell you should contact your GP as usual for advice and help, 111, or emergency services if you should need to.

You can contact the NIV team helpline 01227 866402 and speak to one of our secretaries or leave a message. This is a non-urgent helpline number, and is available Monday to Friday 8am to 3.30pm (excluding Bank Holidays). If you call out of hours, you can leave a message and we will contact you within a couple of days on a working day.

If you are known to them, you can also contact the community respiratory nurse team during normal working hours. If your machine is not working outside of normal working hours you should be safe to wait until the next working day, but if you become unwell you will need to go to hospital.

Are there any risks to having NIV?

As with any treatment side effects can happen. However, the side effects linked with NIV are rarely severe and easily resolved. Common problems include the following.

Reason for NIV: settings

Reason for NIV Setting Setting Setting Setting