Expanded role for respiratory therapy

Teamwork between respiratory therapists and nurses is extremely important, says Dan Cary RRT, far left, director of Matheny’s respiratory therapy department.

Respiratory therapy is a medical specialty that provides a wide range of therapeutic and diagnostic services to patients with cardio-pulmonary issues. Heart and lung disorders may not be part of Matheny patients’ primary diagnoses, but the importance of monitoring and treating these conditions among the Matheny population cannot be underestimated.

Matheny’s newly expanded respiratory therapy department, directed by Dan Cary RRT, consists of four full-time therapists and three who work on a per diem basis. While the department is not yet in operation  24/7, Cary says, “We are moving toward 24/7, and a respiratory therapist is always on call.” The RRTs and CRTs, adds Cary, “play a critical role in the lives of patients with developmental disabilities and respiratory illness. They are responsible for patient assessments, care planning, staff education and providing various treatment modalities.”

Gary E. Eddey, MD, vice president and chief medical officer, believes Matheny’s new respiratory therapy department, “advances us, from a clinical perspective. The role of respiratory therapists here is critically important, given the wide range of complex medical conditions experienced by our patients. The expansion of respiratory therapy positions us for the future, should we be asked to care for patients with even more complicated issues.”

The respiratory therapists at Matheny now have experience, Cary says, “ranging from 25-week-old neonates in a NICU to 100-year-old ventilator-dependent patients in a long-term assisted facility. We do everything we can to make sure every one of Matheny’s patients gets to experience every facet of life they possibly can.”