A respiratory therapist is somebody who looks after children and adults with long term or chronic respiratory disease, such as asthma, cystic fibrosis or emphysema. They may provide emergency care in other aspects of respiratory arrest such as shock or drowning, heart attacks and strokes. They may work within the community or are hospital-based, working with all ages ranges from premature babies to the elderly.
What Does a Respiratory Therapist Do?
A respiratory therapist can carry out and perform many diagnostic tests to establish respiratory diseases and treat them. If you or someone you love suffers from any respiratory problems, you will have seen a respiratory therapist as well as a physician, and perhaps other healthcare professionals. Together, they will come up with a care plan to help their patients live as normally as possible with their chronic illness. One test they carry out often, especially when looking after asthma patients is a lung capacity test. This measures the flow of oxygen when a person exhales and inhales, determining how well their asthma is currently being controlled.
The Importance of Respiratory Therapists
A respiratory therapist can perform physiotherapy on the chest to aid the patient to remove mucus from the lungs, making it easier for them to breathe. This is a life-saving physiotherapy for children and adults living with cystic fibrosis, who cannot do this on their own and would eventually not be able to breathe otherwise. This also takes some pressure off their parents, as doing this daily can be very taxing and parents don’t often get a break when a child has cystic fibrosis. For those who cannot breathe themselves, respiratory therapists may insert a tube down their trachea which will be connected to a ventilator, to allow the machine to inflate and deflate the lungs. Respiratory therapists will support and teach parents and family in using ventilation and other equipment so that the patient can be at home with them.
Would I Make a Good Respiratory Therapist?
If you wish to assist and help those with chronic respiratory diseases to lead a normal life, supporting parents and families, this could be the perfect job for you. If you have an interest in the anatomy and physiology of the human body and the respiratory system, you should look at finding an accredited school to train at via bestrespiratorytherapyprograms.com. As some of what you may see can be upsetting, you will need to have empathy as well as the ability to withdraw from the situation if needs be. We are human and can find certain situations difficult to deal with, but knowing we did what is best and can be there for the patient and their family can be the most rewarding part of the job.
Respiratory therapists are extremely important and will always continue to be. Following a patient’s respiratory journey throughout their life course can be difficult but extremely rewarding, so if you think you’re up for the challenge, apply today.