Most people think of doctors and nurses as being on the forefront caring for patients with COVID-19 and while that’s definitely true, there is another group playing a vital role in COVID care. This month, QHC’s Board of Directors shone a spotlight on the work of QHC’s 30 Respiratory Therapists (RTs) by presenting them with a “Values in Action” award at the May 25th board meeting.
RTs provide care to patients with cardiopulmonary diseases including asthma, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, cystic fibrosis, respiratory distress syndrome and other conditions. Over the past year, and particularly during wave 3 of the pandemic at QHC hospitals, respiratory therapists have been playing a major role in treating hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
Respiratory therapists evaluate and monitor patients who are having trouble breathing. They help determine suitable treatment options and therapies. This could include giving medication and applying oxygen, to inserting breathing tubes and managing the ventilators that help keep people breathing when they can’t on their own.
As ICU Manager, Shelley Kay explained, “RTs literally get down in the dirt with COVID. It’s a respiratory disease and they are the experts in respiratory care. All other health care team members look to them. They are also integral in the education we provide to new critical care nursing staff, students and allied health staff members.”
“The increased support RTs have provided and continue to provide to QHC emergency departments has been greatly appreciated and necessary during this pandemic,” said Heather Campbell, Program Director, Emergency and Primary Care. “We are lucky to have such an incredible resource and have relied heavily on their expertise.”
Linda Price, Program Director of Critical Care and Mental Health, described the RT team as an amazing group of professionals. “Throughout the pandemic, the RT team has coordinated with others in the region to ensure we were prepared by having the appropriate equipment and supplies on site. They have provided expert advice as part of the ongoing management of this respiratory illness and have faced every challenge to meet the needs of our patients.”
“Congratulations to the Respiratory Therapy team – a resilient, highly professional team, deserving of recognition for the role they play within QHC’s hospitals,” said board member Andrew Fleming. “We are so thankful to have you as part of the Critical Care Program and the QHC Team.”