POTSDAM -- Canton-Potsdam Hospital has expanded its respiratory therapy coverage to 24 hours a day in the Emergency Department for emergent conditions and on inpatient wards, with twelve-hour coverage 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
“We expanded coverage to ensure victims of trauma or those experiencing a worsening of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or other respiratory crises could be supported by specialists in respiratory and pulmonary care,” said Dennis Maid, RT, Director of Respiratory Therapy at CPH. “The expansion of service frees up nursing professionals to use their skills in administering medications, starting IVs, and other procedures,” he said.
Respiratory therapists are trained specialists in the management of the airway. Their knowledge includes administering air mixtures and making precise adjustments based on clinical measurements of air pressure, balance of the blood’s pH, and air and blood volume.
“Our lungs are a precision instrument designed to exchange gases delivered to and from all body parts by the airway and by the blood,” Maid said. “If your airway is obstructed, if your lung capacity or elasticity of the tissues is somehow impaired, or if one of your lungs collapses or is punctured, continuous monitoring and emergent respiratory intervention are usually called for,” he said.
Maid pointed to the increase in the incidence and frequency of diseases such as COPD and congestive heart failure, as well as breathing issues brought about by the increase in cancers of the lung, as the reason for the expansion of service.
“These diseases have increased in our region, partly because the population is aging,” said Maid, “and partly because of the increase in environmental and behavioral factors, such as using wood fires for heat, and tobacco use. Healthcare professionals are taking a proactive approach to lung health through programs like smoking cessation, and educational programs for youth, but we also have to deal with the chronic diseases that currently exist,” he said.
For more information about respiratory therapy, an interested person may contact a primary care practitioner or call Maid at 261-2275.