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Respiratory Therapy Blog: Breathing Easy

Karen Respiratory TherapyRespiratory therapists educate, diagnose, and treat people who are suffering from heart and lung problems. Specialized in both cardiac and pulmonary care, Respiratory Therapists often collaborate with specialists in pulmonology and anesthesia in various aspects of clinical care of patients. They play a vital role in both medicine and nursing. An important part of the ICU is the initiation and maintenance of mechanical ventilation and the care of artificial airways. Respiratory therapists are also primary clinicians in conducting tests to measure lung function and teaching people to manage asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder among other cardiac and lung functions. 

Accurate Home Care has recognized the importance of having a respiratory specialist on staff. We are the only non-DME nursing agency that has a Respiratory Therapist on staff. Outside of clinics and hospitals, Respiratory Therapists often manage home oxygen needs of patients and their families, providing around the clock support for home ventilators and other equipment for conditions like sleep apnea. In the clinic or outpatient setting, they assist with diagnosis and serve as an educator for patients suffering from cardiac and respiratory illness. They also work in schools as asthma educators, and in sleep clinics with physicians in the diagnosis of sleep-related illnesses. Respiratory therapists are migrating toward a role with autonomy similar to the nurse practitioner, or as an extension of the physician like the physician assistant, as they are already frequently utilized as complete cardiovascular specialists.

Karen Guilgot is the respiratory therapist at Accurate Home Care. She initially earned a college degree in a different field, but after working in a small town clinic, a close friend told her she should go back to school to challenge herself more. She agreed and went back to become a Respiratory Therapist. At the time—20 years ago—she didn’t know all the details of what a Respiratory Therapist did, but wanted to have a job that would give her the opportunity to teach others. She has never looked back or regretted her career choice.

She moved to Minnesota from Iowa in 2012, and has been working at Accurate Home Care since November of that year. She is now the Learning and Development Specialist at our Headquarters office in Otsego. One of her favorite opportunities she has had here at Accurate is sharing her respiratory knowledge with other employees!

Some of her duties here at Accurate include: 

  • Educating our nursing staff on all aspects of tracheostomies from cares to emergencies
  • Ventilator education from basic functions, humidification to troubleshooting and emergencies
  • Clinical Manager resource for general questions and specific patient issues
  • Visits with Clinical Managers as an additional resource for patient and staff education
  • Infection Control resource
  • Primary contact for CPR questions

Case management is a collaborative process that assesses, plans, implements, coordinates, monitors, and evaluates the options and services required to meet the client's health and human service’s needs. It is characterized by advocacy, communication, and resource management and promotes quality and cost-effective interventions and outcomes. Respiratory Therapists have graduated and passed a national board registry exam. 

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