Breathing problems affect millions of people in the US—from minor conditions like asthma to serious pulmonary diseases—and for patients recovering from illness or injury, respiratory therapy is a key component in the rehabilitation process. Utilizing the latest technologies and a customized approach to treatment, respiratory therapists can help patients reach their recovery goals and regain independence. If you or a loved one is in need of a respiratory therapy program, here’s what you need to know:
What is respiratory therapy?
Respiratory therapy provides therapeutic services to patients with breathing problems, and it’s especially important for patients receiving post-surgical care. Treatment can involve the administration of oxygen and drugs to the lungs, management of mechanical ventilators, and the monitoring of a patient’s cardiopulmonary system. Respiratory therapy programs also include diagnostic testing of a patient’s heart and lung function to detect any underlying respiratory or pulmonary problems.
What conditions can be treated with respiratory therapy?
Respiratory therapists treat patients of all ages, from premature babies to older adults, with the goal of helping them breathe easier. Aside from recovery from illness or injury, medical conditions that can benefit from respiratory therapy include:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Chronic Bronchitis
- Pulmonary Fibrosis
- Sleep Apnea
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Lung Cancer
- Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
Treatment will vary from patient to patient, and respiratory therapists are trained to create a treatment plan to help patients manage their condition, increase productivity, and regain independence.
What types of breathing exercises are employed during respiratory therapy?
Practicing regular breathing exercises not only helps patients in their recovery process, but is also enables less exertion during daily activities. Respiratory therapists thoroughly evaluate each patient to determine the best breathing exercise for their condition. Effective exercises may include:
- Coordinated breathing
- Deep breathing
- Diaphragmatic breathing
- Pursed lip breathing
- Buteyko breathing
- Huff cough
Techniques that combine breathing exercises with specific physical activities, such as progressive relaxation techniques and even yoga, can also aid in recovery.
What type of equipment is used in respiratory therapy?
- When patients receive respiratory therapy in a skilled nursing facility, a variety of state-of-the-art equipment is utilized to aid recovery. Depending on the medical condition, equipment provided may include:
- Oxygen therapy equipment to aid respiratory breathing
- Airway management equipment to clear an adequate pathway to the lungs and prevent aspiration
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and BiLevel Positive Airway Pressure (BIPAP) to keep airways open for patients with sleep apnea
- Apnea monitors to track heartbeat and breathing
- Pulse oximetry to monitor oxygenation
- Ventilators to support breathing until patients are able to breathe on their own
- Nebulizers to administer medication to the lungs more efficiently in the form of a mist
- Suction equipment and supplies to remove mucus from the airway
In addition to aiding patient recovery with the latest in medical technology, respiratory therapists educate patients about how to increase independence and mobility as breathing improves.
Breathe free and clear with the best respiratory therapy programs in San Diego
At Bella Vista Health Center, we offer a comprehensive approach to respiratory therapy. From evaluation and diagnostics to management and care, our dedicated team of respiratory therapists will create an effective treatment plan to help you breathe free and clear during your recovery process. For more information about our respiratory therapy programs or to tour our recently remodeled 5-Star skilled nursing facility in Lemon Grove, give us a call today at (619) 644-1000