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Breathe Well CoughAssist™ Short Term Loan Program

The Breathe Well program forms part of Muscular Dystrophy Queensland’s commitment to support the respiratory needs of our community.  This program relies on generous funding by our donors and fundraising programs and more recently, MDQ has been able to expand the program, thanks to a generous but limited grant from Queensland Health.

Watch this discussion about the CoughAssist machine in use, by world renowned physiotherapist and neuromuscular specialist Dr. Michel Toussaint, PhD., and a family living with Duchenne MD in france.

Your questions answered …

What is a cough assist machine and why might I need it?

For people with weak breathing muscles, a cough assist machine simulates a natural cough and assists the person to clear secretions, including infected secretions.  It is one of the respiratory machines which promotes the health and well-being of members of our community with compromised breathing muscles.

The cough assist machine clears secretions by applying positive air pressure to the airway and then rapidly shifting to negative air pressure.  The resulting high expiratory flow simulates a deep, natural cough.

Who can borrow a cough assist machine?

MDQ’s Breathe Well cough assist loan program is available to Queensland residents living with muscular dystrophy and similar conditions.  If the person is not a client of MDQ at time of enquiry, we simply ask that they complete an MDQ Cough Assist client registration (including consent form).

I live with a condition that is similar to muscular dystrophy. Am I eligible for the program?

Similar conditions principally include neuromuscular conditions and in addition, any diagnosis where muscle weakness and muscle wasting are features.  Examples include but are not limited to Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Charcot Marie Tooth, myopathies, Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Myasthenia Gravis, Inflammatory muscle diseases and Guillain Barre Syndrome. Please discuss your needs with us, if you feel you would benefit from the Breathe Well Cough Assist Program.

Are there limits to the loans?

Loans are free however they are offered for a very short term. Each machine is initially placed for a single month. Where required, renewals are available for up to a maximum of three months. The loans are available for clients living throughout Queensland.  Philips Sleepeasy is the supplier.

Loans are mostly provided in the following circumstances:

  • Acute respiratory infection where a cough assist machine is urgently needed
  • Where access to a cough assist machine enables a person to leave hospital earlier
  • To tide a person over until they can access a long term loan or purchase a cough assist machine

What is the borrowing process?

  1. The borrower (or another person) calls MDQ to make enquiries about the availability of the loan and MDQ assesses capacity to make the loan
  2. The borrower completes or obtains the following:
    • Completes MDQ Cough Assist program registration and consent forms.  (If the person is already an MDQ client, this step is not necessary)
    • Completes a signed MDQ Loan Agreement form
    • Obtains and submits to MDQ, a referral form from a registered physiotherapist or physician, listing prescribed pressures/machine settings.
    • (Forms can be obtained from us. Make an enquiry about the CoughAssist program today.)
  3. It is only when MDQ has these forms that the loan can be activated.

Important points to note

  • Availability of loans is dependent upon funds available. Unfortunately, loans will be temporarily suspended if we run out of funds dedicated to the program
  • It is important to obtain surveillance of respiratory function from your respiratory physician or other appropriately qualified health professional
  • MDQ can advise on sources of charitable funding for the purchase of cough assist machine
  • MDQ has structured this program in good faith and takes no responsibility for issues that may arise as a result of using the program