The significance of respiratory care week

2 Minutes

Respiratory Care Week falls on the last week of October, honouring respiratory therapists on an international scale. It is a period of time set aside to acknowledge what respiratory therapists do and how they are able to positively impact patients and make a difference in the world of healthcare. Special events are usually held during this week to celebrate respiratory therapists and students hoping to become respiratory therapists, by respiratory therapist departments and also allied healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses.

What are the origins of Respiratory Care Week? 

In November 1982, then-president of the USA Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation that established the third week of each October as a national Respiratory Care Week. This tradition was adopted by many other nations worldwide, marking Respiratory Care Week as an annual event. Respiratory Care Week is most celebrated in the USA and Canada today.

What exactly do respiratory therapists do? 

Respiratory therapists provide respiratory care at every stage of life (e.g. infants, children, seniors) at a number of different locations (e.g. hospitals, specialist clinics, at patients’ homes providing in-home services). They are well-versed in delivering anesthesia, intubating patients, providing advanced cardiac life support and many more. From performing patient assessments related to the respiratory system to actively supporting doctors and nurses in acute care settings, respiratory therapists are an integral part of any healthcare team. 

How can we celebrate Respiratory Care Week? 

Respiratory Care Week really emphasizes the importance of lung conditions such as asthma and COPD, and what respiratory therapists do to treat patients with these lung conditions. There are also many public campaigns during this time that raise awareness for lung conditions to reduce harm. This means that this is the perfect time to hold conferences, fundraisers and other events that are focused on education and advocacy. 

In addition to professional events, respiratory therapists may decide to hold more casual events such as lunch-and-learns or set up displays in community settings, such as the library. Make sure to stop by and check these out ...

Respiratory therapists may also be offering free or discounted screenings and assessments during Respiratory Care Week. In the USA, festivals are held for Respiratory Care Week where people can receive screenings while getting to watch documentary films on respiratory health and observe exercise-related demonstrations. As the main purpose of these festivals is health promotion, people can attend to experience an event that is fun and educational!

Respiratory care is such a fundamental component of the smooth operation of healthcare. While the least we can do is dedicate some time every year to honouring hard-working respiratory therapists, there are ways for you to celebrate along as well. Make sure to check out any events that are happening during Respiratory Care Week in your community! 


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