They are women and men who are specialized healthcare practitioners trained in pulmonary medicine. They teach people to manage and conduct tests on people who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), asthma, and other lung diseases.
The week of Oct. 22-28, is National Respiratory Care Week, and it offers an opportunity to highlight and acknowledge the contributions respiratory therapists bring to this specialized medical field that most likely touches the lives of people with chronic lung diseases.
The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) is promoting Respiratory Care week as a chance to thank “Real Life Heroes.”
Respiratory therapists can be found in many different medical settings, such as:
- Intensive care: Educate, diagnose and treat patients with lung and heart problems.
- Operating room: Initiate and maintain ventilation machines in the ICU.
- Outpatient clinic: Conduct tests to determine lung function and teach people with lung and cardiac problems to manage their disease.
- Home-healthcare: Manage home oxygen needs of patients, and provide around the clock support of those with home ventilators and other breathing equipment.
- Public education: Work in educational settings to help teachers/coaches recognize respiratory medical situations.
- Pulmonary rehabilitation: Help patients cope with chronic lung diseases through education, treatment and exercise via a clinic or hospital setting.
So, it’s possible you have been or are in contact with a respiratory therapist and maybe didn’t even realize that was their title.
You just knew they were performing a welcome and necessary role in your treatment or therapy. Give them a “high five,” hug or “a thank you” for a job well done.
Christine Kingsley, APRN is the Health and Wellness Director at the Lung Institute where she focuses on providing helpful online resources for people looking for information on various lung diseases, breathing exercises, and healthy lifestyle choices. She advocates for holistic care that involves working with your doctor to explore all options including traditional and alternative care while focusing on diet and exercise as proactive measures.