Mercy Health Love County - News

For Better Breathing: Respiratory Therapy

Posted on Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Respiratory care refers to the treatment of disorders affecting a person's ability breathe.
In the emergency room, respiratory care practitioners start oxygen or, in extreme cases, initiate ventilators or devices to open airways. "We're the first people patients see. Nurses depend on us when something happens," says Robert Umphrey, RRT.
They also run and log EKG tests of the heart to learn whether heart disease may be causing shortness of breath.
In the hospital, they visit every patient to determine their need for breathing assistance and administer inhalation treatments, as needed.
For the clinic, they conduct tests to measure lung function and teach patients to manage asthma, emphysems, chronic bronchitis, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).
In the Therapy Building, they operate the region's only pulmonary rehabilitation program. Through movement, COPD patients build strength for better breathing.
There are 36 sessions over 12 weeks of arm weights, treadmill, stationary bike, arm extensions, and home exercises.
Patients must have stopped smoking to benefit from the pulmonary rehabilitation program, which is covered by Medicare.
Smoking accounts for many cases of lung disease. COPD is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., after cancer and heart disease.
Numerous aids to smoke cessation are on hand and available to any patient who is ready to quit. There are patches, gum, drugs, and expert guidance. "Anyone who wants to can quit," says Michele Lively, director of the respiratory therapy department.

Michele Lively, RRT, RCP, Respiratory
Therapy Department Director. 
Has 27 years in the field, the last five
at Mercy Health/Love County. A recent
pulmonary rehabilitation patient
gained the strength to undergo a
successful double-lung transplant.
Together they rejoiced over "how easy
it is to breathe."
Robert Umphrey, RRT, RCP (left). A granddaughter with cystic fibrosis and a
great deal of "liking people" inspire the day-to-day work of this respiratory
therapist. It's a second career in which he's invested 12 years, the last 10
in the Mercy system. 
Ron Kimery, RRT, RCP (right). In 2015 will celebrate 40 years as a respiratory
therapist, the last eight at this hospital. "I enjoy helping people get well and
improve." He has witnessed many improvements in breathing aids and
medications, encouraging for patients and therapists. "I love my work to this day."