Posted by Colin Heggie on Jan 26, 2021
Ventilators are closely monitored by an RT for each patient.
Dr Craig Goplen hosted his daughter Laura, a respiratory therapist, to tell us about her career & how RTs are involved in Covid-19 treatments.  Following an undergraduate degree,  TRU in Kamloops offers a three-year program to train RTs.  This includes a year of hospital & community practical work, with a rotation through Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.  RTs work in various clinics; in care homes; in private homes assisting those with home oxygen; assisting with air & ground transport of patients; in hospital ER departments, neonatal, ICU, operating rooms & general wards – assisting with all cardiac arrests, & “wherever they’re needed quickly;” in diagnostics with bronchoscopy, etc.; & in rehabilitation, helping those with chronic lung disease.  RTs manage oxygen therapy, intubation, ventilation, extubation & tracheostomy tubes.  They’re often involved in the beginning & end of life issues.  Vernon’s hospital has ten ventilators, plus three transport ventilators.  Two RTs are always on shift.  The demands on RTs have skyrocketed through Covid treatment, which adds significantly not only to patient volume & complexity, but also to the requirement that medical practitioners change their PPE for each patient.  A change of PPE takes about five minutes, with a “buddy” to assist.  Covid patients also need negative pressure isolation rooms for safe treatment.  Because RTs are always working in patients’ faces, they’re exposed to a high risk of disease transmission.  Laura asks everyone to please follow mask guidelines, & use credible sources for information about vaccines.