For most people, breathing is as easy and natural as blinking. But for thousands of Canadians, breathing is a struggle. They might be accident victims, premature babies with immature lungs, heart attack and stroke patients, or people who live with asthma and emphysema.
The Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists (CSRT) is celebrating Respiratory Therapy Week from October 25 to31 this year. This annual celebration serves to educate the public about the varied roles and responsibilities of respiratory therapists (RT) and to raise awareness of the significant contribution they make across our health-care system.
Respiratory therapy is an allied health profession and these highly skilled health care professionals care for patients by evaluating, treating, and maintaining cardiopulmonary function. RTs have specialized medical expertise and use advanced medical technology to provide direct care for their patients. They are educated to treat all age groups, from newborns to the elderly.
RTs use their expertise in the assessment and management of respiratory diseases, in patient and family education and in the resuscitation and stabilization of critically ill or injured patients. When it comes to their care, a respiratory therapist will likely play a vital role on the health-care team.
Respiratory therapy services span across Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) hospitals and community health-care settings. RTs can work in acute settings such as intensive care, emergency and in pulmonary function labs or in various community programs.
This year, more than ever, our health-care system is relying on respiratory therapists. As frontline workers, they have been tirelessly providing care to those infected by COVID-19. The nature of their role and the care they provide requires them to be work alongside critically ill patients, often performing life sustaining procedures at the patient's head – the most infectious region for providing patient care during a respiratory pandemic.
RTs have also played important roles behind the front lines of the pandemic. They have been instrumental in preparing at every level, and, they have continued to provide essential care to a wide range of patients across our health-care system who have not been afflicted by COVID-19.
The City of Vancouver recently proclaimed October 25 to31 Respiratory Therapy Week, providing well deserved recognition of the valuable role these health-care professionals play within the community. Please join VCH in thanking all respiratory therapists across our organization for their dedication in providing exceptional patient care throughout the year, but especially now as we navigate this pandemic.