AARC Congress 2011 Gazette
for Monday, November 7

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Pennsylvania members reduce readmissions

Reducing readmissions for COPD patients is receiving a lot of attention from hospitals that want to get one step ahead of the Affordable Care Act’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program. AARC members in Pennsylvania are already out in front with a program implemented last year to provide COPD home care patients with the education and information they need to successfully manage their disease at home. The respiratory therapist-driven program effectively brought the readmission rate for those enrolled to under 5%—quite an accomplishment in an area of the country where the readmission rate for historical controls runs about 25%.

They are presenting results in an Open Forum on Home Care/O2 Therapy Monday afternoon when Brian Carlin MD FAARC presents “Transition of Care Program and Rehospitalization Rates for Patients with COPD Who Require Home Oxygen Therapy Following an Exacerbation: an Update.”

President Stewart outlined plans for 2012

Karen Stewart

AARC President Karen Stewart MSc RRT FAARC led the annual business meeting Sunday morning, outlining her plans for the Association in the coming year.

Top priorities will include supporting patients and families, increasing membership in the AARC both nationally and internationally, and promoting patient access to RTs in all patient care settings. “We need to ensure we help diagnose breathing problems sooner so that patients don’t have to suffer for so long. Every single RT can volunteer to do something to move us forward,” she emphasized.

She noted patients already appreciate the value RTs bring to health care. “What we do for our patients is something that isn’t done by anyone else. Every time you walk into a patient’s room to deliver a breathing treatment, to bring them relief, believe me, you are their hero,” she said.

President Stewart’s other goals for 2012 include following through with the ongoing 2015 and Beyond project, meeting continuing education needs of members, working with outside groups and organizations here and around the world, and expanding efforts to seek research funding and increase public awareness of RTs.

Weber State University wins the Vent 5K competition

Weber State University

Congratulations to Weber State University in Ogden UT for coming out  on top again in this year’s Vent 5K contest. The school raised $4,400 for ARCF by pitting two student teams against each other—the entry-level students versus the advanced-level students—and the advanced-level students were the fleetest of foot.

Janelle Gardiner MS RRT will be taking back to Weber State a brand new ventilator donated by Breathe Technologies.

The 38th Donald F Egan Scientific Memorial Lecture

Jay Johannigman

by Steve Sittig RRT-NPS C-NPT FAARC

Day 2 of the 57th AARC International Respiratory Convention and Exhibition began with an outstanding lecture by Jay Johannigman MD, who spoke on “Forged in the Fires of Battle: Advances in Medicine.”

Dr. Johannigman described the care being provided to our critically injured soldiers in the ongoing theaters of operation in Iraq and Afghanistan. The audience was guided through the process of caring for one soldier injured in a round of sniper fire. The role of the Air Force Critical Care Air Transport Team, which is comprised of a physician, registered nurse, and RT, was highlighted.

According to the physician, the respiratory therapist is key in helping to care for these injured soldiers during transport to more definitive care. He also emphasized that lessons learned during the care of these soldiers have significantly changed practice guidelines, standards of care, and clinical management algorithms. What’s more, these new methods of treatment are now moving into civilian trauma care. For example, long-held concepts of massive fluid resuscitation with crystalloid are now being revised in favor of using whole blood.

Dr. Johannigman said this advanced care is being delivered with technology that is approximately 20 years old and went on to describe the research that he is conducting along with Richard Branson MSc RRT FAARC, CMSgt Dario Rodriquez RRT, and others in Cincinnati in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force and Department of Defense.

He also described the use of autonomous controllers that can titrate the oxygen concentration supplied by a ventilator faster and more efficiently than a clinician, an important capability as oxygen supply is a critical issue in the long flights these teams do everyday. These autonomous controllers are now being looked at in such roles as fluid resuscitation and even pain control.

As trials of new technology progress, Dr. Johannigman pointed out value that RTs such as Rich Branson and Dario Rodriguez add to the process, noting that knowing how to take the technology to the next level has always been a forte of the respiratory therapist.

It really is an “international” Congress!

International Fellows

Respiratory care is increasingly going global, and that’s been clearly evident this week in Tampa:

  • We’ve had the opportunity to hear from international colleagues in the form of Stefano Nava MD and Paolo Navalesi MD from Italy, and Michelle Chatwin PhD from the U.K., who have taken to the podium to educate us on approaches to invasive and noninvasive ventilation in their countries.
  • We’ve learned more about the international practice of respiratory care during Open Forum presentations by colleagues from Italy, Saudi Arabia, China, Taiwan, Brazil, India, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Canada, Poland, and Estonia.
  • We’ve been given the great pleasure of welcoming another group of international fellows to the meeting following their 2-week stays in the U.S. to learn more about American-style respiratory care. This year’s fellows include Wang Sheng-yu BS MMed, from China; Karel Roubik MSEE PhD, from the Czech Republic; Edita Almonte RRT-NPS FAARC, from the UAE; Darko Kristovic MD, from Croatia; and Malak Shaheen MD FCCP, from Egypt.
  • We are honoring 2 outstanding members of the international respiratory community with top awards—the 2011 Héctor León Garza MD Achievement Award for Excellence in International Respiratory Care went to Kook Hyun Lee MD PhD, from South Korea, and the Koga Medal will be presented to Patrick Dunne MEd RRT FAARC during the International Reception tonight.

Covidien Sputum Bowl® finals tonight

Tonight the final four teams in both the National Sputum Bowl and Student Sputum Bowl play off for their national championships at a traditional AARC event.

After two days of competition, we are down to the final four in both categories. And for the first time, the same 4 states placed in the top 4 in both events! So for those of you from California, Maryland/DC, Michigan, or Minnesota, it’s time to wave your banners!

Exhibit Hall “Best of Show”

Philips Respironics

Congratulations to Philips Respironics, whose booth received top honors in this year’s Exhibit Hall Best of Show competition. Newport Medical Instruments won second place, and Passy-Muir Inc took third.

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