3 Fundamentals of Respiratory Care

Woman breathing deeply

Respiratory care for asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, and other lung diseases is an important component of nursing, physician, and EMS education. Lung disease is on the rise, with the number of estimated deaths from lung disease (not including lung cancer) about 235,000 annually.

Respiratory processes to treat common lung diseases:

Tracheostomy

  • In tracheostomy, a stoma is cut in a patient’s neck, establishing an airway that bypasses the mouth, nose, and throat. The healthcare provider then inserts a tube.
  • Tracheostomies are performed for a variety of reasons including severe facial injury, coma, obstruction of the airway, and chronic lung disease.

Nebulization

  • Nebulization is a medication delivery method used by patients with asthma, COPD, or other lung diseases. A nebulizer converts liquid medicine into a fine mist to be inhaled through a mouthpiece or facemask. A nebulizer is often portable, but might need to be plugged in.
  • Children who are too young to successfully deliver medication through an inhaler and adults with severe asthma use nebulizers. Nebulizers also alleviate the symptoms of COPD.
  • Purchasing a nebulizer system can teach students how to operate and maintain these devices in the event of an emergency.

Diagnostics

  • Pulmonary diagnostics is comprised of several different tests. Spirometry and oximetry are pulmonary function tests used to assess a patient’s lung function. Spirometry tests how much air you inhale and how quickly you exhale. In it, your nose is clipped shut and you breathe through your mouth into a tube. In oximetry a sensor is attached to your finger, which measures the amount of oxygen in your blood using a light and sensor.
  • Spirometry is used to diagnose asthma, COPD, and other lung diseases. Oximetry can be used to assess the health of a patient with breathing issues (COPD, lung cancer, asthma, or pneumonia), heart problems, or sleep apnea.

It’s National Respiratory Care Week, as established by the American Association for Respiratory Care. If you would like to enhance respiratory care education in your healthcare program, visit the Respiratory department at www.PocketNurse.com.

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