What are the different types of respiratory services?

Various types of respiratory services are 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 breathing problems a person has. Services are available in 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 respiratory problems. The service includes pulmonary evaluations, respiratory treatments and management of the mechanical ventilator. Some hospitals also offer smoking cessation classes as part of their respiratory services. Respiratory therapy and hospital facility services must be ordered by a physician.

Once a patient is discharged from the hospital, they may still need respiratory care. Home health care companies can often provide respiratory services. A respiratory specialist will go to a patient's home and set up the necessary equipment, such as a ventilator, oxygen, or nebuilzer. The therapist will educate the patient and her family on how to use the equipment and troubleshoot if there is a malfunction.

Learning 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 may 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 can also benefit from services including pulmonary rehabilitation classes. Classes may include educational information on symptom management and instructions on breathing techniques to minimize shortness of breath. Pulmonary rehabilitation also includes monitored exercise sessions.

Diagnostic tests are often part of the respiratory services offered at medical facilities. Tests, such as pulmonary function assessment, can measure a person's lung volumes and help a doctor make a diagnosis. Other diagnostic tests offered include an arterial blood gas, which measures the oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. Sleep studies are another diagnostic test, which may be part of the services offered through a hospital or sleep lab. Sleep studies determine if a person has a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea.

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