Welsh Assisted Ventilation Service

The referral form for healthcare professionals is here.

In some critically ill patients, it can take a long time to get them off the ventilator (wean respiratory support), and in a proportion of these patients it becomes clear they will always need to be ventilated at least some, or possibly all of the day and night.

Some patients have suffered trauma, most commonly a high cervical spinal cord injury making them too weak, at least initially to breathe without assistance. These patients need specialist help and training to wean them from the ventilator. It becomes clear over time that some cannot be weaned from ventilation completely, and will always need a ventilator.

 Other patients may have developed a neurological disease which makes them permanently weak or temporarily weak. These diseases are relatively rare. Guillian Barre (acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy) is one such disease which affects some patients very severely and can then takes weeks or months to wean from ventilation.

 Lastly, some patients have been so critically ill, or have other illnesses (co-morbidities) that make them so weak it can take weeks or months to wean them from ventilation. They may be referred, accepted and transferred for specialist care with us from across South Wales. We are a regional service.

Acute critical care units are not best placed to meet these patients particular needs once they are well enough and safe enough not to need acute intervention. These patients really need a caring environment geared specially to their rehabilitation, and away from the noise and stresses of acute units. Establishing good sleep, nutrition, rehabilitation, psychological well-being, medical care, drug therapy and infection control with consistent access to a specialised multi-disciplinary team is crucial to optimising weaning and maximising people’s quality of life through specialist rehabilitation and complex discharge planning.


In South Wales the regional long-term ventilation and weaning service is located in Cardiff following the agreement with the other Health Boards, the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee and Welsh Government who have invested in the Service we provide.

The service is called "Welsh Assisted VentilationService (WAVeS - Rehabilitation for Recovery )”. It is currently located in the University Hospital of Wales due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was previously located in the University Hospital Llandough and will re-locate there. There is a dedicated multi-disciplinary team of nurses, doctors, psychologists, pharmacists, dieticians and therapists including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language. If you have any questions about the service, then please

Email: Criticalcare.Ltivuhl@wales.nhs.uk


Opening Hours

1300 to 1830

1930 to 2030

2 visitors per patient