Respiratory Therapy: Scope of Practice

Respiratory Therapists are health care professionals whose responsibilities include the diagnostic evaluation, management, education, rehabilitation and care of patients with deficiencies and abnormalities of the cardiopulmonary system. The scope of practice includes the application of technology and the use of treatment protocols across all care sites including, but not limited to, the hospital, clinic, physician's office, rehabilitation facility, skilled nursing facility and the patient's home.

The practice of respiratory care encompasses activities in diagnostic evaluation, therapy, and education of the patient, family and public. These activities are supported by education, research and administration. Diagnostic activities include but are not limited to:

   1. Obtaining and analyzing physiological specimens
   2. Interpreting physiological data
   3. Performing tests and studies of the cardiopulmonary system
   4. Performing neurophysiological studies
   5. Performing sleep disorder studies

Therapy includes but is not limited to the application and monitoring of:

   1. Medical gases and environmental control systems
   2. Mechanical ventilator support
   3. Artificial airway care
   4. Bronchopulmonary hygiene
   5. Pharmacological agents related to respiratory care procedures
   6. Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation
   7. Hemodynamic cardiovascular support

The focus of patient and family education activities is to promote knowledge and understanding of the disease process, medical therapy and self help. Public education activities focus on the promotion of cardiopulmonary wellness.