Respiratory Therapy

Respiratory therapy is the assessment and treatment of patients with either acute or chronic dysfunction of the cardiopulmonary system. In short, it is therapy provided to patients who have trouble breathing, intending to improve the patient’s quality of life.

Respiratory therapy can be provided in a hospital, nursing home, or in an outpatient setting, such as the patient’s home. Respiratory therapists are trained medical professionals and must pass a national exam to become certified and work alongside medical doctors to diagnose and treat breathing disorders in patients of all ages.

stethoscope used by nursing home respiratory therapist for cardiopulmonary care of elderly patients

Adults seen by a respiratory therapist may be suffering from a chronic disease such as asthma, emphysema, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Respiratory therapy can help increase their breathing efficiency while providing emergency support to a patient suffering from a heart attack or pneumonia. This kind of treatment can also be administered in the hospital to patients recovering from heart or lung surgery.

Respiratory Therapy in Nursing Homes

Skilled nursing facilities always strive to provide the best of care for their residents. With skilled respiratory therapists, the health of residents improves, especially when suffering from breathing issues such as COPD, asthma, surgery, injury, or recovering from an illness. Physical therapy is often used in conjunction with respiratory therapy to help build strength.

Having respiratory therapists on staff at the nursing home is convenient. Not only is there the added convenience of having a respiratory therapist on-site, but it also helps to guard off a trip back to the hospital.  

Skilled nursing home care for those with respiratory issues provides high-quality care and 24-hour supervision. In the case of respiratory problems that are life-threating, a nursing home offers medical care supervision at all times. 

Many patients who have respiratory problems will stay at a nursing home for a few weeks until their breathing has improved. With the care from expert respiratory therapists, the patient is then able to return to living at home.   

If the medical issue is ongoing, the patient may be transferred to a long-term care facility that has respiratory therapists on staff. Living in a nursing home or long-term care facility offers the resident a better quality of life surrounded by a team of medical providers. 

Trained respiratory therapists work with people of all ages. With the population aging, there is a growing need for respiratory therapists in nursing homes. Many have found this to be a gratifying career. 


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