Patient Story – Fatima

Fatima is in her late 70s and lives in Streatham, South London. Her two daughters, Saida and Zahda live nearby, with Zahda being her Mum’s main carer.

In March 2020, Fatima was admitted to hospital and initially, it was thought that she had COVID-19. She has been increasingly tired, with high levels of CO2, sleeping much of the day. It was later diagnosed that she had COPD and heart failure.

In April 2022 she was admitted to hospital and started on a ventilator. Although her condition improved and she was discharged, she was back in hospital later that month after losing consciousness.

At this point, home mechanical ventilation was suggested and once the machine became available at the end of June, Fatima was able to start the treatment. Initially, she found it a little bit difficult – the mask fit wasn’t right for her and Zahda ordered a larger one for her.

Once Fatima became used to the machine, she quickly found that her breathing improved and she slept better. She was also awake for longer, able to talk to her family, and was much less confused.

Zahda said:

“Mum was always asleep before – really only waking up to eat and then she didn’t have much of an appetite so ate very little. She got very confused, and often forgot where she was but now she is awake and can talk to us, and she has a better appetite than she did previously. She can also now visit us and stay overnight which she wasn’t able to do before.
She has much more confidence and her self-esteem has improved so she is much more sociable. She is more independent than she was previously and generally has a much better quality of life. As a carer, I worry less than I did before. The difference in her is amazing and she has not had to go into hospital since June 2022.
Getting the home mechanical ventilator has been a life-changing experience – for my sister and I, and for our Mum. I would recommend it to others – it’s given Mum a new lease of life. We would also request that the NHS focus on treating the patients with these issues and make the home mechanical ventilator more available, as when patients get to a certain age, regular hospital admissions cause so many more problems.

Please do make this machine available for more patients so that they can enjoy life with their loved ones.”