Registered Respiratory Therapists specializing in home oxygen have a very important role in the community seeing a whole range of patients from the newborns to the end of life. They help support patients and their families at home by providing life-saving home oxygen treatment so that they do not need to go into hospital and this improves quality of life for their patients.
A typical day will normally start at 8:30am by checking that you are fully stocked with oxygen equipment and supplies as you never know what can come up during the day. You need to be ready at any moment to see a variety of patients with different oxygen needs.
Around 9am you check to see who is scheduled for a home visit and you are very pleased that you will be visiting a patient who you have seen countless times before. During your visit, you are assessing their oxygen levels and the patient is giving you updates on how they are doing and how their family is doing. You truly feel part of their family as you help them out with their oxygen needs but also with their emotional needs too.
At 1030am, a call comes in from a homecare RN asking for extra high capacity oxygen equipment to be set up for a patient whose medical condition is worsening. You head there right away and set up extra equipment for the patient. Before you leave, you ensure that you have monitored the patient’s oxygen levels to make sure they are safe and you call the homecare RN back to provide an update.
Just after lunch, the hospice is asking for an Oxygen RRT to come and check on a palliative patient to ensure that he is receiving enough oxygen so that he is comfortable during his end of life. While you are there, you assess the patient and also answer any of the family’s questions that they have during this difficult and sensitive time.
The day finishes up with a newborn baby needing home oxygen as they are ready to be discharged home for the first time. The family is anxious to welcome the baby home as soon as possible. You head to the hospital to meet the baby, the parents and the staff in order to provide portable oxygen for the baby to use in the car. Once the family and baby is home, you set up the rest of the equipment and teach the family on how to use it. The family is so grateful that you were able to help get their baby home safe and sound.
You now head home, extremely satisfied, after a busy day helping out all these patients and their families all during one single day.