About the Technology Dependence Center
The Technology Dependence Center/Home Ventilation Program (TDC) cares for children with chronic lung disease who use assistive therapies such as mechanical ventilation, airway clearance devices or an artificial airway. Such technologies, when used appropriately, can help children grow and develop better and need less hospital care.
We assess and treat conditions such as chronic respiratory failure and insufficiency in patients with neuromuscular disease, bronchopulmonary dysplasia and airway anomalies. Your child's care will be coordinated by our team of physician specialists, advanced practice nurses, nutritionists and social workers, whether your child is in the hospital or coming to the Technology Dependence Center for an outpatient office visit.
Inpatient (hospital) care
Your child may require an inpatient stay from time to time for care of an acute illness or further evaluation. Patients with artificial airways (tracheostomies) are generally admitted to the Neonatal and Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU), Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), or the transitional care ventilator unit (Progressive Care Unit, PCU), depending on the child's age and acuity of the condition. Patients requiring noninvasive ventilation who are medically stable may be admitted to other units.
While in the hospital, your child will be followed by the pulmonary consultation service, which includes a board-certified attending pediatric pulmonologist and a pediatric pulmonary fellow. This team works in close collaboration with the primary services in the intensive care settings. Other Technology Dependence Center staff, including the advanced practice nurses, nutritionist and social workers become involved as they are needed.
Outpatient care (office visits)
Your child will receive outpatient care in the Technology Dependence Center on the 7th floor of the Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care on Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Main Campus, University City. Our team of attending pulmonary physicians, advanced practice nurses, a respiratory therapist, a dietitian and social workers are specialized in the care of children requiring extra technology to breathe so they can provide the very best care for your child.
We typically schedule outpatient appointments quarterly, but we will arrange follow-up visits more frequently if your child's condition requires it. During your child's visit, we will:
- Take a comprehensive history and physical examination
- Assess your child's growth
- Measure oxygenation and ventilation
- Obtain other measurements of lung function, when possible
Your child may also be referred to the Pulmonary Function Laboratory for measurement of lung function, instruction in assisted airway clearance techniques or aerosol treatments. After each of your child's outpatient visits, we will send a report to your child's primary care physician.
While your child is cared for at home by you and/or nurses, our staff will be available to consult with you on the telephone. If your child is undergoing weaning from mechanical ventilation, our nurses will call you weekly to evaluate your child's progress. This allows us to carefully monitor growth and respiratory status during the weaning process without requiring your child to come in for an office visit for each change.
The Technology Dependence Center/Home Ventilation Program team is actively involved in professional education and research to improve care for technology dependent children and help shape care standards by:
- Educating physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and other allied health professionals about optimal treatment strategies and participate in development of regional and national care standards
- Conducting basic and clinical research that will further the understanding and care of these patients