Please visit CDC.gov for the latest information regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Respiratory therapists have always been vital members of the healthcare team. This was shown to be especially during the COVID-19 pandemic that began in 2020 and disrupted the daily lives of almost every person on the planet.
In this article, we’re going to highlight the role that a respiratory therapist plays when it comes to treating patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Medical Disclaimer: While this is a Respiratory Therapy website, we are not experts when it comes to the details of COVID-19. Even though Respiratory Therapists are on the front lines when it comes to treating patients who are infected, we are not doctors or scientists, nor are we experts when it comes to controlling infectious diseases. Again, please visit the CDC Website for the latest information regarding COVID-19.
What is a Respiratory Therapist?
A respiratory therapist is a healthcare professional that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of breathing disorders.
They work closely with pulmonologists to provide comprehensive care to patients with respiratory problems.
Respiratory Therapists are Trained to Treat Patients With Cardiopulmonary Disorders
A respiratory therapist is trained to provide care to patients with both acute and chronic cardiopulmonary disorders. This means that they are able to provide life-saving treatments to patients in need.
In addition, they are also able to treat patients with chronic conditions such as asthma, COPD, and emphysema.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of respiratory therapists in the healthcare system. This is because COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that primarily affects the lungs.
As such, respiratory therapists are on the frontlines and work tirelessly to provide care to patients who have been infected by the virus.
Respiratory Therapists are Trained to Operate Mechanical Ventilators
One of the most important treatment methods that respiratory therapists can provide is mechanical ventilation. This is a life-saving form of life support that is used to assist with spontaneous breathing.
In order to operate a mechanical ventilator, the respiratory therapist must be specially trained. They must know how to properly set up the ventilator and how to monitor the patient’s condition.
The use of mechanical ventilation is essential in treating patients with severe symptoms of COVID-19. This is even more proof that respiratory therapists play a vital role in the fight against this pandemic.
Is There a Shortage of Respiratory Therapists?
Unfortunately, there is currently a shortage of respiratory therapists in the United States. This is due to a variety of factors, including an aging population and an increase in the number of people with chronic respiratory conditions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this problem. This is because the demand for respiratory therapists has increased exponentially as more and more people become infected with the virus.
Hospitals are currently struggling to keep up with the demand for respiratory therapists. This is due to the fact that many therapists have become sick themselves or have had to quarantine because of exposure to the virus.
This shortage of respiratory therapists has put even more pressure on those who are still working. They are working longer hours and are seeing more patients than ever before.
A Message from Respiratory Therapy Zone
Our hearts go out to all of those who have been affected by COVID-19. You will continue to stay in our thoughts and prayers as we all navigate through this ongoing pandemic.
To all the frontline workers:
We hope you stay safe and, most importantly, thank you for your dedication and willingness to serve others. Words cannot express how much your sacrifice has meant.
Respiratory therapists are an essential part of the healthcare team. They are specially trained to provide care to patients with cardiopulmonary disorders.
This makes them uniquely qualified to treat patients with COVID-19.
Again, research concerning COVID-19 is always changing and evolving. Because of this, be sure to visit the CDC.gov website for the latest information. Thanks for reading; stay safe, and, as always, breathe easy, my friend.
John Landry, BS, RRT
John Landry is a registered respiratory therapist from Memphis, TN, and has a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. He enjoys using evidence-based research to help others breathe easier and live a healthier life.
- “2019 Novel Coronavirus.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 Feb. 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.
- “Coronavirus.” World Health Organization, 17 June 2020, www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019.
- “COVID-19 News & Resources.” AARC, 4 June 2020, www.aarc.org/nn20-covid-19-news-resources.