RTs Make Positive Impact in COPD Care

 Published: November 14, 2019

By: Heather Willden


image of female RT working with older male patient

Respiratory therapists play a key role in caring for patients with COPD. Because of this, RTs have the unique opportunity to make a positive impact in delivering care. We checked in with Post-Acute Care Chair Adam Mullaly, BSRT, RRT, AE-C, a COPD navigator with Bryn Mawr Hospital, for his input on this topic. Here’s what he had to say.

RTs provide value

“Our interactions with these patients revolve around their breathing, and that puts us in a unique position to build rapport with these individuals, share our expert knowledge of all things respiratory and coach them in ways that help them better manage their disease,” Mullaly said.

Adam’s tips for RTs

  • You will be working with many elderly people, increase your knowledge of advanced care directives, palliative and hospice care; these can be important components of managing a person’s chronic lung disease goals and wishes.
  • Meet people with COPD where they are and don’t make assumptions. Each COPD patient is an individual and you need to be dynamic and adapt as needed.
  • Look for interventions that can make a difference in their life—sleep studies for those high risk for a sleep disorder, pulmonary rehabilitation for those with high symptom scores, inhaled medication delivery optimization sessions, non-invasive ventilation for chronic hypercapnia, etc.

November is COPD Awareness Month

This month is a great opportunity to help educate your patients about COPD. Check out the AARC COPD Resources and Tips.

Email newsroom@aarc.org with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Heather Willden

Heather Willden is the Director of Governance and Strategic Initiatives for the AARC where she works with state affiliates as the HOD liaison. She also manages DEI efforts and strategic initiatives. Connect with her about these topics by email, AARConnect or LinkedIn. When she's not working, you can find her podcasting with her husband, exploring new hiking trails, photographing, and spending time with her family.

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