The flu season is off to an early and strong start. Flu activity has been reported as widespread in at least 46 states, including Indiana. Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health is currently restricting visitors to protect patients and prevent further spreading. Learn more.
Riley at IU Health’s licensed respiratory therapists (RT) are highly trained, experienced medical professionals who provide assistance to patients with breathing difficulties. Our respiratory therapy team supports all medical specialties, offering services such as oxygen therapy, respiratory medication therapy, ventilator management and pulmonary function testing.
RTs treat patients with a variety of respiratory diseases and conditions, including asthma, cystic fibrosis, cardiac anomalies, premature birth, burns, trauma, and patients who may need breathing support following surgery. The team also offers consultation and treatment for patients with tracheostomies and those with infectious diseases that affect the lungs, such as pneumonia. Our RTs also work closely with doctors and medical professionals who specialize in pediatric sleep disorders.
Generally, Riley at IU Health respiratory therapists are asked to provide assistance to hospitalized patients through referral by a child’s physician. Educational materials are available for patient families, and our RTs are always available to answer family members’ questions or address concerns.
Many respiratory therapists who manage complex cases in the hospital’s neonatal and pediatric intensive care units have completed specialized training and have passed national credentialing exams. All therapists working in neonatal intensive care have been trained in neonatal resuscitation, and RTs working in intensive care have extensive training in pediatric advanced life support.
Riley at IU Health respiratory therapists are also an important part of our rapid response team, which is called in emergency situations. Nurses may also call RTs when a child is not doing well. In these cases, RTs assess the situation and offer advice and direction on next steps. In emergencies, RTs provide essential aid.
While Riley RTs do not make home visits, they do provide valuable consultation and referrals to families who may need respiratory therapy when their child leaves the hospital. Our RTs work closely with Indiana University Health Home Care and other community resources to ensure families have the support they need at home.
Riley at IU Health serves as a training site for respiratory therapy students enrolled in education programs across the state. Members of our RT team also travel to Indiana hospitals to train respiratory therapists on stabilizing and preparing neonatal intensive care newborns for transport.