Respiratory Therapy Can Help Nursing Home Residents Breathe Easier

By September 6, 2016 Blog No Comments
Respiratory Therapy Can Help Nursing Home Residents Breathe Easier

As skilled nursing facilities, we strive to provide the best recovery for all patients who come into our care. For some people, skilled respiratory therapy services can help improve outcomes. That’s often the case when a patient arrives with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), moderate-to-severe asthma or another breathing disorder, or needs breathing help while recovering from an injury or surgery. In addition, physical therapy may assist in building body strength as well.

For nursing home residents who appreciate receiving specialized treatment in the same facility where they are staying, having respiratory therapy services onsite can be a great convenience.

Convenience is not the only advantage, however. Importantly, skilled nursing facility (SNF) respiratory therapy often avoids a trip back to an acute care hospital. In fact, avoiding hospital readmission is one of the main goals of providing these and other high-quality rehabilitation services in nursing homes across the country.

Nursing home patients with more acute needs may require tracheostomy care and ventilator support services.  That’s why Arch Plaza is adding specially-equipped rooms for those patients needing to be weaned from a ventilator. The respiratory therapists, nursing staff and physical therapists are all trained in high standards of tracheostomy and ventilator care.

What is Respiratory Therapy?

In case you are unfamiliar, respiratory therapy is designed to help people maintain or improve their breathing (a.k.a. respiratory function). Some patients admitted to a nursing home after surgery need assistance with regaining healthy lung function. When people with chronic breathing conditions are admitted to a SNF for care, their physicians might recommend respiratory assistance.

Oxygen therapy, various exercises, and personal education about ways to improve breathing are just some of the many services respiratory therapists provide. Many use a device to measure the amount and flow of oxygen inhaled with each breath, which is an important indicator of overall health. At some SNFs, respiratory therapists work closely with physical therapists, occupational therapists and other trained providers to come up with the best treatment plan for each individual.

Does Insurance Pay for It?

Insurance coverage for respiratory therapy varies according to the individual plan and the reason for its use. Medicare provides a payment benefit for some patients who receive respiratory therapy as part of their Medicare Part A hospital insurance coverage. Private health insurance also pays for respiratory therapy in some instances. It is always best to check your health plan policy in advance, and if you have questions, to consult the financial staff at the skilled nursing facility.

Medicare payments for respiratory therapy apply to arrangements made between a SNF and any qualified respiratory therapists. Previously, Medicare required the therapist have a direct arrangement with the hospital from which a patient is transferred.

Even if you or your loved one do not need respiratory therapy upon admission to a skilled nursing facility, it can be reassuring to have the service available should the need arise. Keep that in mind – along with many other considerations – when you are searching for the best nursing home for your recovery and rehabilitation.