The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2001 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

HEALTH BEHAVIORS OF REHABILITATION THERAPISTS IN A LONG TERM ACUTE CARE FACILITY

Penelope G.Valentik, BA, RRT, CHES and Jill M.Black, Ph.D., CHES, Cleveland State University,Cleveland, Ohio.

Patients who enter a rehabilitationlong-term acute care facility are admitted for the reason of rehabilitationand ventilator weaning. One of the main reasons for the present state of healthof these patients can be attributed to health risk behaviors. Smoking is knownto be associated with pulmonary disease and lung cancer. Drinking alcohol inexcess, poor diet and poor exercise habits are also associated with diseasesof the liver, heart, and pancreas. One of the roles of a rehabilitation therapistis patient health education. A modified Youth Risk Behavior Survey for collegestudents (YRBS-C) was administered to twenty therapists and other health careprofessionals working in a twenty-two bed acute care long term facility. TheYRBS-C had been developed to determine the health behaviors of college studentsthat contribute to the leading causes of mortality and morbidity among youthand adults in the United States. Nineteen of the questionnaires were returned.Nine of the respondents identified themselves as respiratory therapists. Themajority of the participants were female, married, mean age of thirty- eightyears, and White-not Hispanic. The mean number of years of the respondents workingin their professional field was 11.6 years, with a mean level of education beyondhigh school of 3.8 years. Ten of the respondents reported to have ever smokedcigarettes regularly. Half of the confirmed smokers have tried to quit cigarettesin the past 6 months. Eight of the respondents reported not to have had a drinkof alcohol during the past 30 days. One of the respondents reported to drinkat least one drink a day. Sixty-three percent of the respondents felt theirweight to be overweight. Over half of the respondents were trying to lose weight.Only sixteen percent of the respondents did not eat fruits daily, close to halfreport eating green salad daily, and close to seventy-five percent eat cookedvegetables daily. Seven respondents did not partake in any form of aerobic activity,seventy-four percent do no strengthening or toning exercises and forty-two percentreported not to have walked or ride a bicycle for at least 30 minutes that weekwhen questioned. There was s significant negative correlation between the smokingand educational attainment years (-.732), a lesser degree of relationship betweendiet and educational attainment years (.622), and a lesser negative relationshipbetween diet habits and smoking (-.587). Questions to be explored in the futureare: Do therapists who possess ?good health behaviors? have more impact on thepatient and their rehabilitative care and education? Should professional trainingprograms devote more time to the teaching of health risk behaviors in orderto help produce ?healthy? therapists?

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