There are several types of respiratory services available to patients and their families, including asthma education, COPD case management, home health care, respiratory therapy, and pulmonary rehabilitation classes. The services needed will depend on the type of respiratory problems a person has. Services are available at hospitals, outpatient clinics, and through home health care organizations. Because individual health insurance coverage varies, patients should check with their insurance companies to determine what services are covered.
Hospitals offer inpatient respiratory services to patients with breathing problems. Service includes pulmonary assessments, breathing treatments, and mechanical ventilator management. Some hospitals also offer smoking cessation classes as part of their respiratory services. Respiratory therapy and services in an inpatient facility will need to be ordered by a physician.
Once a patient is discharged from a hospital, he may still need respiratory care. Home health care companies often can provide respiratory services. A respiratory specialist will come to a patient’s home and set up needed equipment, such as a ventilator, oxygen, or nebuilzer. The therapist will educate the patient and his family on how to use the equipment and troubleshoot it if there are malfunctions.
Learning how to manage and live with certain respiratory diseases is important to improve health and quality of life. Respiratory services often include educational programs, such as asthma education, to help teach patients and their families how to manage their asthma. Identifying what triggers an asthma attack and how various medications can help is taught.
Respiratory services can also include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, education and case management. Although there is currently no cure for COPD, people can be taught ways to live with and manage the condition to improve their well-being. People with COPD may also benefit from services that include pulmonary rehabilitation classes. Classes may include educational information on managing symptoms and instruction on breathing techniques to minimize shortness of breath. Pulmonary rehabilitation also includes monitored exercises sessions.
Diagnostic testing is often part of respiratory services offered at medical facilities. Tests, such as a pulmonary function evaluation, can measure a person’s lung volumes and help a physician make a diagnosis. Other diagnostic tests offered include an arterial blood gas, which measures oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. Sleep studies are another diagnostic test, which may be part of services offered through a hospital or sleep lab. Sleep studies determine if a person has a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea.