Home mechanical ventilation (HMV) is an effective treatment for patients with chronic hypercapnic respiratory failure caused by restrictive or obstructive pulmonary disorders. Traditionally, HMV is initiated in the hospital, nowadays usually on a pulmonary ward. The success of HMV, and especially non-invasive home mechanical ventilation (NIV), has led to a steep and ongoing increase in the incidence and prevalence of HMV, in particular for patients with COPD or obesity hypoventilation syndrome. Consequently, the number of available hospital beds to accommodate these patients has become insufficient, and models of care that minimize the use of (acute) hospital beds need to be developed. At present, the practices for initiation of NIV vary widely, reflecting the limited research on which to base model-of-care decisions, local health system features, funding models, and historical practices. Hence, the opportunity to establish outpatient and home initiation may differ between countries, regions, and even HMV centres. In this narrative review, we will describe the evidence regarding the feasibility, effectiveness, safety, and cost savings of outpatient and home initiation of NIV. In addition, the benefits and challenges of both initiation strategies will be discussed. Finally, patient selection and execution of both approaches will be examined.
Keywords: home mechanical ventilation; non-invasive ventilation; outpatient initiation; home initiation; ambulatory adaptation; telemonitoring; patient selection; healthcare organization