For most people, breathing is second nature. But for those who suffer from breathing problems caused by injury or illnesses such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, each breath can be a major accomplishment.
A special group of OLBH physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and support staff provide care during diagnosis, treatment, and recovery of pulmonary problems. The pulmonary care team works hand-in-hand with primary care physicians to develop a plan of care specific to the patient.
The Respiratory Care Department, located on the second floor of the hospital, balances individualized, compassionate care with technology to make a difference in the lives of patients. The health care professionals of the department motivate and provide patients with the resources and techniques that enable better, more comfortable living.
Outpatient testing available includes:
• Pulmonary function testing measure how well the lungs take in and release air and how well they move oxygen into the blood.
• A bronchoscope is a procedure during which an examiner uses a viewing tube to evaluate a patient's lung and airways including the voice box and vocal cord, trachea, and many branches of bronchi. Bronchoscopes are usually performed by a pulmonologist or a thoracic surgeon. Although a bronchoscope does not allow for direct viewing and inspection of the lung tissue itself, samples of the lung tissue can be biopsied through the bronchoscope for examination in the laboratory.
• Arterial blood gasses are tests where a sample of blood from an artery is usually taken from the inside of the wrist (it also can be collected from an artery in the groin or on the inside of the arm above the elbow crease). A patient will be seated with arm extended and with the wrist resting on a small pillow. The health professional drawing the blood may rotate the patient’s hand back and forth and feel for a pulse in the wrist.
Outpatient testing can be scheduled by calling the OLBH Centralized Scheduling Department at (606) 833-3926.
OLBH’s nationally-certified outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation program, which takes place at the OLBH Human Motion Vitality Center, helps people with severe breathing problems overcome the physical limitations resulting from their disease.
At first, for those who struggle daily to take a breath, it may be difficult to understand how exercise actually can improve their condition. At the OLBH Human Motion Vitality Center, rehabilitation specialists utilize physical fitness to help patients breathe easier.
Specific program goals include decreasing respiratory symptoms and complications, encouraging self-management and control over daily functioning, improving physical conditioning and exercise performance, improving emotional well-being and reducing hospitalizations.
The program tries to make patients less short of breath by improving their breathing muscles and heart function. Candidates for the program include patients recovering from an acute episode, people with lung disorders who need conditioning in preparation for surgery, and anyone whose activities are limited by chronic lung disease.
Upon referral from a physician, pulmonary rehabilitation participants complete the program in three phases. The first phase consists of education, breathing re-training and emotional support. The second phase incorporates exercise conditioning into the program, and along with the first phase, is insurance billable. The third, maintenance phase addresses patient and family education and reconditioning as a continuing process.
For more information about outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation or other programs offered at the OLBH Human Motion Vitality Center, please contact the OLBH CareLine at (606) 833-CARE (2273) or via email.