Respiratory therapy: What you should know

Respiratory therapists play an important role in the medical team. They assist people with respiratory issues breathe more comfortably in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings.

These experts assist people of all ages who are having breathing or airway problems, from newborn babies to elderly people in hospice care. Chronic lung disorders like asthma and emphysema, as well as viral infections like COVID-19, are examples of these problems.

They provide therapy, equipment, and support for patients alongside doctors and nurses. Respiratory therapists also teach clients how to modify their lifestyle in order to better manage their disease and how to use breathing strategies to improve their quality of life.

The numerous types of respiratory treatment are discussed in this page, as well as how to locate a respiratory therapist.

What is the definition of respiratory therapy?

respiratory therapy

Working with a respiratory therapist is part of respiratory therapy. These board-certified medical practitioners are experts in lung and respiratory care. They assist people who suffer from breathing problems or pulmonary disease, which affects the lungs and respiratory system.

A breathing examination, exercise recommendations, and progress tracking may all be part of therapy. Low oxygen levels, for example, may indicate that the respiratory system is not operating properly and that the person would benefit from respiratory therapy.

Respiratory therapists also help people with tracheostomy tubes, which allow them to breathe without using their mouth or nose. People who are unable to breathe on their own are treated by these specialists, who utilize a ventilator to breathe for them.

They do not, however, solely work with people who require these high-tech machines. Respiratory therapists also help people of all ages who have transient or persistent respiratory problems.

For example, monitoring premature neonates for breathing issues may be part of respiratory therapy for newborns. Respiratory therapists, on the other hand, may work with older persons who have acute or chronic respiratory disorders.

Respiratory therapy also includes teaching people how to treat and manage chronic lung disorders such asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and pulmonary fibrosis.

Respiratory therapists can also assist people with chronic lung diseases by providing them with physical activities that help them breathe more easily and comfortably.

Types

Respiratory therapists’ roles are changing. They currently work in community settings in addition to hospitals and clinics. Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) clinics, as well as community health centers, may be available to help people with chronic lung diseases.

Long-term care

Chronic lung disease affects nearly one in every seven middle-aged and older people. As a result, respiratory therapy is frequently required by older people and others who require long-term care.

Nursing homes, rehabilitation hospitals, and other long-term care facilities are common places for therapy. Acute or chronic respiratory illnesses may be present in these people.

Neonatal-pediatrics

In neonatal units and pediatric wards, this sort of respiratory therapy is used. The monitoring of neonates, particularly premature babies, for respiratory issues is one facet of this care. Respiratory therapists also assist those born with a pulmonary condition with therapy or respond to any emergency respiratory demands.

They do not, however, solely work with newborns and babies. Toddlers and older children might be included in respiratory therapy in this sector.

Respiratory therapy may be beneficial for those suffering from cystic fibrosis or asthma. The respiratory therapist can also teach children, as well as their parents or caregivers, how to best manage the condition.

Pulmonary rehabilitation

People with chronic lung disorders such as emphysema, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, and chronic bronchitis can benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation.

Pulmonary rehabilitation therapists utilize a combination of treatment, education, and exercise to help people with chronic lung disorders breathe easier and improve their quality of life.

Polysomnography

Respiratory therapy is a rapidly emerging area that is increasingly being used to treat and manage sleep disorders. Although it may appear that sleep disorders and respiratory problems are unconnected, problems like sleep apnea can induce breathing problems.

Polysomnography can be used to research and diagnose sleep disorders in people who are suffering from them. A respiratory therapist may be present during the test and may provide care to the individual depending on the results.

Critical care

Intensive care Respiratory therapy takes place in a hospital setting. It may entail treating people in the emergency room, as well as those recovering from heart surgery or lung failure.

Complicated surgical operations sometimes necessitate the assistance of a respiratory therapist to ensure that the lungs work properly both during and after the procedure.

Respiratory therapists work with people who need ventilator support because they can’t breathe on their own. A ventilator may be required for a variety of reasons, including trauma or a specific disease.

Managing someone who is on a ventilator, on the other hand, is difficult. Although these equipment can save lives, putting someone on a ventilator too late or for longer than necessary might result in serious consequences. As a result, respiratory therapists keep a close eye on their patients to ensure that they are receiving the best possible care.

The process of selecting a respiratory therapist

It’s important to choose a respiratory therapist who is patient and sensitive, as they will need to provide emotional support to both the person who needs care and those who are close to them. They should also be aware of the stress that everyone experiences while dealing with a loved one who is suffering from health issues.

It’s also a plus if you can locate someone who enjoys learning, because respiratory therapy is a discipline that is constantly evolving and developing. A therapist who stays up to date on current best practices is more likely to deliver the greatest service.

Anyone who requires assistance in selecting a respiratory therapist should seek counsel from their primary care physician.

Conclusion

Respiratory therapy is a type of treatment that aids people in improving their respiratory function, breathing more readily, and living more comfortably.

Respiratory therapists help people of all ages diagnose, monitor, and treat conditions that impact their lungs and breathing. In healthcare facilities and the community, they may work in long-term care, neonatal-pediatrics, pulmonary rehabilitation, polysomnography, or critical care units.

Treatments, education, and fitness programs are all part of respiratory therapy. The treatment allows people with short-term or chronic lung difficulties to breathe easier and improve their quality of life.

Sources:

  • https://www.aastweb.org/blog/what-is-polysomnography
  • https://www.aarc.org/careers/career-advice/professional-development/indispensable-rts/
  • https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/pulmonary-disease
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6516139/
  • https://be-an-rt.org/what-is-respiratory-therapy/specialized-care/
  • https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-procedures-and-tests/pulmonary-rehab
  • https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db180.htm
  • https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/ventilatorventilator-support
  • https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/respiratory-therapists.htm#tab-2