Respiratory Care Services

Author(s):
Marie Fornof, RN, BSN, CIC Infection Preventionist

National Jewish Health
Denver, CO

Published:
October 3, 2014

Abstract

The respiratory care service provides diagnostic and therapeutic procedures to monitor and support respiratory function. Respiratory care service activities may include cardiopulmonary diagnostics, emergency resuscitation, the administration of medical gases and aerosolized medications, bronchial hygiene therapies, airway management procedures, lung expansion therapies, mechanical ventilation, and blood gas sampling and analysis. Each of these procedures is a potential source of infection for the patient or the practitioner. Understanding of these components and potential avenues for introduction of microbes is critical for prevention of infection. Specific respiratory care issues involve proper equipment handling, cleaning, disinfection, and storage of equipment, as well as use of evidence-based practices that reduce the risk of infection to patients, healthcare personnel, and visitors. Application of bundles to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonias has led to decreases in rates.