Respiratory Therapists, along with patients and their caregivers, came together for the annual Respiratory Patient Advocacy Summit on Tuesday, Oct. 3 in Indianapolis, IN. Attendees collaborated to advocate for advancing the quality of care for chronic respiratory patients. Special guest speakers Claire Wineland and Grace Anne Dorney Koppel each shared their perspective and insight in living with respiratory illness, as well as their hope for the future.
“The purpose of the Summit is letting our patients know we are advocating for them,” said Amber Galer, RRT at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Salt Lake City, UT. “It’s also a chance for our patients to advocate for themselves.”
Galer further explained that the Summit provides a platform for lung organizations to work together and join in networking and sharing resources with patients. Much of what was learned and discussed by the 120+ attendees immediately applies to their life and career.
“Even if RTs don’t work with COPD patients on a daily basis, the Summit gives them a chance to listen to patients in a non-clinical setting. This allows our patients to really open up and not be limited by time,” Galer said.
She continued to share that patients have the chance to take what they learned from experts and resources and share these experiences with their local medical community. From there, they can help increase awareness, talk, and ask questions to start the conversation on patient care.
“Ultimately, we want to help our patients know they have support,” Galer said. “We want to empower the patient to take control of their own disease.”
New for this year’s Respiratory Patient Advocacy Summit was the presentation of the National Patient Advocacy Award, a collaborative effort between The FACES Foundation (Family and Caregiver, Education & Support) and the AARC. This year’s inaugural recipient is Christine Hartling of Utah. Jeff Cain of Michigan and Jamie Causey of North Carolina were selected as the runners-up (Read More About Our Finalists).
“This was a perfect environment to present the first National Respiratory Advocate of the Year Award,” said Sharman Lamka, The FACES Foundation president/co-founder. “This collaboration between AARC and The FACES Foundation honors respiratory therapists that focus on and see the person, not just the patient.”