Respiratory Care – Patient Care and Treatment
Respiratory Care offers the latest technology and equipment and uses the best evidence-based practices to care for various types of patients.
To contact the Department of Respiratory Care, please call us at
Offering access to the most advanced respiratory technology
We’re proud to make available the latest respiratory services and technologies to our patients. We work interprofessionally at Penn State Health on a variety of disease processes.
Routine respiratory care
Our therapists administer various medications utilizing different delivery devices, as well as the Cofflator®, therapy vest, and other secretion removal techniques. We also have a team of COPD educators that provide a comprehensive education program for in-house patients.
The respiratory care practitioner is responsible for managing the ventilator during the bronchoscopy. This includes monitoring the patient’s respiratory status and adjusting the ventilator settings as necessary.
Code and trauma team
We’re a valued member of the adult and pediatric CODE teams, airway emergency team, and adult and pediatric trauma teams. Our role in these situations is assisting in airway management (which can include intubation), ventilator management, and transport of patients to a critical unit both internal and external
Comprehensive care of cystic fibrosis patients
As an accredited cystic fibrosis center, the department plays a major role in the care of the hospitalized cystic fibrosis patient. We treat patients of all ages, from infancy to adulthood, using a variety of therapies that includes interpulmonary percussive ventilation, therapy vest, flutter therapy, and PEP therapy.
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a service provided by only a few institutions outside major metropolitan areas. ECMO is offered to our adult, pediatric, and neonatal patient populations. It involves the placement of cannulae that allow venous blood to be removed from the body to correct blood gas abnormalities inconsistent with life, and return it to the patient at body temperature in a manner similar to cardiopulmonary bypass. ECMO is performed at the bedside, in an ICU setting, by a team of perfusionists, respiratory therapists, and registered nurses.
Fast track weaning
Our screening tool allows our respiratory care practitioners to initiate the weaning process from mechanical ventilation at any time by identifying patients who pass specific criteria contained within a "readiness to screen" profile.
Upon passing the "readiness to screen" criteria, patients are placed on a brief continuous positive airway pressure trial with minimal support while specific oxygenation/ventilation parameters are assessed. If this "screen" is successful, an order to wean from mechanical ventilation can be obtained by the respiratory care practitioner.
We’re responsible for assisting with the safe transport of ventilated patients to and from tests such as CT scan, MRI, angiography, or nuclear medicine, or from one critical care unit to another. This may include transporting and setting up the ventilator, setting up the transport monitor, manually bagging the patient with a handheld ventilation device, and monitoring the patient during transport.
Jet and oscillatory ventilation
The use of high-frequency jet and oscillatory ventilation in our neonatal and pediatric ICUs allows us to provide the most advanced forms of technology to support patients with illnesses that are too severe for conventional ventilation methods.
Our respiratory therapists play a major role as members of the Life Lion flight and ground transport teams. They must respond at a moment's notice and be prepared to help stabilize and transport adult, pediatric, or neonatal patients. Many times this requires lung protective strategies in mechanical vent management, nitric oxide, and surfactant therapies.
Specialty gas therapy
Our respiratory therapists have the ability to provide many forms of specialty gases including nitric oxide, heliox, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. Many patients receiving the specialty gas therapy experience positive outcomes.
Surfactant replacement therapy
With technological advancements making the survival of infants born at 24 weeks gestation commonplace, we have become even more dedicated to delivering the most effective form of surfactant replacement therapy.
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