The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2010 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

ASSESSMENT OF RESPIRATORY THERAPISTS’ KNOWLEDGE OF CURRENT LONG-TERM OXYGEN EQUIPMENT

Louis M. Kaufman; Roberts Home Medical, Inc., Germantown, MD

Background: The concept of the healthcare continuum from acute care hospital to home care has been discussed for some time, and the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) Homecare Section Chair has recently proposed the “Respiratory Care Anywhere” philosophy to help identify ways we can make respiratory care “seamless”. This study was designed to quantify respiratory therapists’ (RT) knowledge level of the technology used to provide long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT). Method: A multiple choice survey including five (5) knowledge questions was prepared and AARC members were asked to participate via the AARC weekly e-mail newsletter. Information required to correctly answer the questions is available in numerous texts and journal articles and in a review of LTOT published in the August 2009 issue of Respiratory Care. 1. Oxygen concentrators used for low flow oxygen applications and delivering oxygen concentrations of (80%; 85%; 90%; 95%) or greater are considered therapeutically equivalent to 100% oxygen. 2. A numerical setting on a particular oxygen conserving device (OCD) (is; is not) equivalent to the numerical setting on an oxygen flow meter. 3. The effect of an increased respiratory rate for a patient receiving continuous flow oxygen via nasal cannula at 2 L/min is (FIO2 remains the same; FIO2 increases; FIO2 decreases). 4. Pulse-dose-only portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) weighing from 5 to 10 pounds produce (0.5 to 1 L/min; 1 to 2 L/min; 1 to 3 L/min; 1 to 5 L/min) of therapeutic oxygen. 5. A numerical setting of 2 on a particular model of oxygen conserving device (OCD) will deliver a bolus of oxygen that is (equal to; larger than; smaller than; either larger or smaller than) a setting of 2 on a model from a different manufacturer. Results: Responses were received from 816 National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) registered respiratory therapists and 201 NBRC certified respiratory therapists (total 1017). Correct response percentages were: Q1: 18%; Q2: 63%; Q3: 60%; Q4: 7%; Q5: 56%. Conclusions: NBRC credentialed RTs do not have the knowledge required to safely and adequately manage patients utilizing currently available LTOT equipment. The response to Q3 indicates a lack of RTs’ understanding of low-flow oxygen systems. Because the majority of patients requiring respiratory therapy reside in their homes, RT education programs should increase their emphasis on LTOT and equipment. Sponsored Research - None