The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2011 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Christopher McCormick, Eric Hayes, Valerie Hanlon, Amanda Hustosky, Freda White, Kara Terhune, Chain- Wen Wang; Respiratory Therapy, West Virginia University Hospitals, Morgantown, WV

Background: The terms "pulmonary hygiene" and "pulmonary toilet" are commonly used in the acute healthcare arena. Acute care practitioners routinely instruct bedside caregivers to perform these tasks to assist patients with their pulmonary status. We hypothesize that role delineations between Respiratory Therapy and Nursing are perplexing and thus lead to less compliance with treatment interventions. Methods: A perception survey was presented to Respiratory Therapy and Nursing staff on an Intermediate Care Medical-Surgical Unit. A specific subset of patients was utilized for study purposes and included all patients admitted to the Trauma Emergency Service. The staff perceptions were assessed to determine their interpretation of the statement "pulmonary hygiene" and "pulmonary toilet", what their specific role in the care of the patient consisted of and knowledge of current policy and procedure. Results: Respiratory Therapy staff participation (N=80) resulted in 54 (68%). Registered Nurses (N= 51) participation was 33 (65%). Respiratory Therapy staff had an overall better understanding of the physiological aspects that the various treatment measures provided to the patient. They were knowledgeable regarding facility policy and procedure regarding pulmonary care. Nursing staff had favorable results regarding policy and procedure but had mixed reviews regarding the "definition" of pulmonary hygiene/toilet and what adjunct to therapy was incorporated. The overall understandings of the Nursing staff were the basics of pulmonary therapy but did have difficulty when delineating their role from the Respiratory Therapist role. Conclusion: The implementation of the pulmonary care perceptions survey provided insight into the beliefs and understanding of both the Nursing and Respiratory Therapy staff. These insights have prompted us to develop a consistent understanding of common terminology utilized in the acute care setting to optimize treatment plans in regard to respiratory status. A joint collaborative approach will be implemented to draw from the strengths of each separate division to provide excellence in care.
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