There are several different types of masks available. Full face masks are most commonly used to cover the nose and mouth if you tend to breathe through your mouth. Full face masks also ensure you get full benefit from the ventilation therapy almost immediately. Other patients prefer a nasal mask option that just covers the nose.
Masks are made of a soft, flexible cushioned material mounted on a frame with straps that go round the head (head gear). Masks are designed to fit snugly on the face. A good seal and a comfortable fit are essential to prevent leaks. However, a small leak, as long as it is not blowing into your eyes, is acceptable. Your clinician will prescribe the most appropriate mask type for you.
All masks have an exhalation port (usually small holes or a vent) to allow carbon dioxide to escape. This will be highlighted to you on installation.
Do not cover or block these mask holes at any point.
The mask and tubing you use in hospital may differ from the reusable system you use at home. Never assume you can use a mask you get in hospital with your home tubing as it may mean you have no way of removing carbon dioxide which can make you feel unwell.
To ensure optimum comfort and suitability, your mask will be selected from an extensive mask range and will be professionally fitted by a member of our fully trained staff. You will then be shown how to put on and take off your mask correctly to ensure an ongoing good fit. Some masks have quick release clips to make this process easier. They can sometimes feel a little uncomfortable and claustrophobic at first, so it’s important to persevere. The most important thing is that you wear the NIV mask properly and coordinate your breathing with the air pressure of the ventilator machine.
Adjust your mask to try to get rid of any leaks into the eyes. Follow your fitting instructions or call our helpline. Baywater Healthcare will gladly make a follow up visit after installation to assist you in making any adjustments that are required.
Your headgear may be too tight, so try loosening it a little bit. If your mask has a forehead adjuster, move this so that the mask is pushed away from the bridge of your nose. If the problem continues it could be that you need a different type of mask, call our helpline and we can arrange a visit. If your skin has become reddened or broken contact your nurse specialist at the hospital for advice.