Respiratory Education Clinics can take the pressure of wait times off local hospitals.
As waiting lines at your local hospital for medical services can be long, private companies have stepped up to provide clinics to help assess and assist your respiratory health. Family 1st Medical now provides a Respiratory Clinic at their New Minas and Antigonish locations.
Family 1st Respiratory Clinics are conducted by a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) who is also a Certified Respiratory Educator (CRE). Respiratory education primarily means providing condition specific information for asthma and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients.
RRT Holly Mitchell is Family 1st Medical’s CRE. Holly also provides home oxygen clients care in their homes and works with those with sleep apnea with (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) equipment).
When asked how one becomes a CRE, Holly said, “You must take additional training through the Lung Association.”
“I have been an RRT for 12 years, graduating from Dalhousie in 2004. Following Dal, I went on to complete extensive asthma and COPD education over a three year period. I completed my training in 2007 to become a CRE”.
According to Holly a CRE is open to any health professional but the large majority of active educators are RRT's and Registered Nurses (RN).
When asked what is the difference between going to a family Doctor for guidance or attending a Respiratory Education Clinic, Holly responded by confirming that its “one on one” individual education. The clinics are scheduled to provide dedicated time to review things that a family Doctor simply may not have time to review,” she said. “Condition specific, medication options and medication directions are all covered.”
Many people may ask why their Doctor doesn’t just refer them to the respiratory department at their local hospital, but Holly confirmed that spirometry testing (a simple breathing test), can have a three to five month waiting list at most hospital.
When you attend a Family 1st Respiratory Clinic, you can expect that the appointment will be approximately one hour. It will include spirometry condition specific education (what it is, symptoms, what to expect, etc.), respiratory medication review and medication device technique education. A full report will also go to the patient’s Doctor.
Holly outlined that patients should bring to the clinic any puffers and respiratory medications they are currently using (including aero chambers and spacer devices).
“It’s generally felt that children under the age of eight are not able to complete spirometry testing. It would be preferred if clients have already received a diagnosis of asthma or COPD. Our clinics are not necessarily designed to be used as a screening tool”.