American Association for Respiratory Care

11030 Ables Lane, Dallas, TX 75229

Position Statement


Definition of Respiratory Care

Respiratory Care is the health care discipline that specializes in the promotion of optimum cardiopulmonary function and health. Respiratory Therapists apply scientific principles to prevent, identify, and treat acute or chronic dysfunction of the cardiopulmonary system. Knowledge of the scientific principles underlying cardiopulmonary physiology and pathophysiology, as well as biomedical engineering and technology, enable respiratory therapists to effectively assess, educate, and treat patients.

As a health care profession, Respiratory Care is practiced under medical direction across the health care continuum. Respiratory Care is specifically focused on the assessment, treatment, management, control, diagnostic evaluation, education, and care of patients with deficiencies and abnormalities of the cardiopulmonary system as well as on the prevention of the development of these deficiencies. Critical thinking, patient/environment assessment skills, and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines enable respiratory therapists to develop and implement effective care plans, patient-driven protocols, disease-based clinical pathways, and disease management programs. A variety of venues serve as the practice site for this health care profession including, but not limited to: acute care hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, rehabilitation and skilled nursing facilities, patients' homes, patient transport systems, physician offices, convalescent and retirement centers, educational institutions, and wellness centers.

Effective 12/99

Back  HOME