Respiratory Care Week is a time to recognize members working in respiratory care and bring awareness to lung health. The American Lung Association noted that nearly 37 million Americans suffer from chronic respiratory disease. Respiratory conditions include diagnoses such as asthma, pneumonia, and lung cancer. All have an impact on a person’s day to day. Thankfully there is a profession dedicated to helping people, respiratory therapist (RT). Currently, over 131,000 RTs in the United States are working to educate and improve lives.
History of Respiratory Care Week
You may be asking yourself, how did respiratory therapists get into the spotlight? In 1981 President Ronald Reagan was shot and rushed to George Washington University Hospital. His left lung was impacted by the gunshot requiring surgery. Many healthcare workers including respiratory therapists were vital to his care. This experience shed light on the importance of the respiratory profession. A year later, Respiratory Care Week was born.
What are Respiratory Therapists
Respiratory therapists (RTs) are certified healthcare professionals that treat airway and breathing problems. These individuals are trained to evaluate patients, complete diagnostic tests, and initiate treatments. Depending on where they work their days may look very different. Responding to emergencies, performing pulmonary function tests, providing pulmonary rehabilitation, and managing ventilators. During the COVID-19 pandemic, RTs have been an essential part of the multidisciplinary teams treating patients.
Having worked alongside many respiratory therapists, I have great respect for these individuals. While working in a children’s emergency room, I had the opportunity to work with some of the most incredible RTs. They are deeply knowledgeable and dedicated to helping children breathe better. Through their daily actions, they showed how to gracefully calm parents while taking necessary actions to help their kiddos. This specialty is not for the faint of heart, days can be long and stressful yet oh-so rewarding.
What you can do today
During this week, we at Leapcure want to recognize and thank all the individuals working in respiratory care. To observe this week, send thanks and appreciation to any respiratory therapist and pulmonologist in your network. Share on social media with #RespiratoryCareWeek.
The COVID-19 pandemic shed new light on respiratory illness. The importance of a multidisciplinary team and the individual responsibility to take care of your lung health. We as individuals can strive for improved lung health by:
- Not smoking or quitting smoking
- Avoiding pollutants in the air
- Preventing infections
- Regular Check-ups
Check out the resources below to learn more about respiratory care!