Stan went on a vent last summer. For the past year he only needed to be vented at night or during the day when resting. Otherwise he was plugged and used a nasal canula for extra oxygen.
He had some medical complications a couple of months ago that really weakened him and is fully on the vent now. When vented he is very comfortable. The only draw back is that once having a been trached and vented he needs 24 hour care. Your loved one will need to be fully trained on the system. This is not too scary I'm quite versed with the equipment. Even the nurses will call me during the day on what to do.
Disadvantage is you run the risk of getting what is known as vent pneumonia. However, one is always at risk with pneumonia if you do not clear the mucus and sit up.
The advantage is the suctioning of mucus is much easier and complete. At home he never got pneumonia, but while he was was hospitalized he did get pneumonia but is now cleared up. Plus you are now comfortable and not struggling to breath. He has a small sized trach and can deflate the cuff for a few seconds to speak. He can still eat well, with no bulbur symtoms, so the vent does not interfer here either.
You can get a portable vent so that you are mobile (pulmonetic) which is the size of a old fahioned laptop. Rental and supplies are expensive. Fortuneately our insurance covers it. there is mainatenace but the medical supply company takes care of that too.
I would recommend the vent, as the alternative to struggling to breath. You have so many other things to struggle with that this is a small piece of comfort.
Hope this helps. We do not regret Stan getting a vent. He does not complain either about it. His main complaints are with a terrible bed sore that occured at the hospital last month, severe diarhea and much much pain in his legs because being now totally bed ridden.
Marianne said it all pretty well. I have been on a vent 24/7 for about 2 1/2 years and have no complaints. I spend 12 hours a day in bed, and 12 in my wheelchair. I won't lie to you, the process of being trached, and the recovery was a little scary, but definitely worth it. I now live a comfortable fulfilling life.