Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists

Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists

April 30, 2009 15:30 ET

Respiratory Therapists Vigilant as Pandemic Risk Rises

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 30, 2009) - The Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists (CSRT) would like to assure the public that respiratory therapists (RTs) are well prepared to handle the possibility of a swine influenza pandemic. We continue to monitor alerts from the World Health Organization (WHO) as the outbreak of a new strain of swine flu continues to evolve rapidly and spreads around the world.

RTs are trained to think ahead and prepare for challenges whether it is an influenza pandemic or other disaster. RTs are key healthcare providers in any respiratory care crisis, as evidenced during the SARS crisis. They provide medical attention to individuals suffering respiratory distress in a variety of settings. They are knowledgeable professionals who educate the public and other health care providers on appropriate measures to be taken during an influenza pandemic.

With the current swine flu coming dangerously close to pandemic levels, RTs will provide instructions to other healthcare workers on proper infection control practices, including the use of N95 masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The N95 mask is an individually fitted mask that is highly efficient (95%) against airborne pathogens. These preventative practices are especially important to observe if there is a possibility that infected individuals may present themselves at emergency rooms.

"While the cases reported in Canada are relatively minor at this time, the CSRT supports the WHO as it advises for heightened surveillance and for infection control measures to be implemented in all health facilities" stated Mr. Ray Hubble, CSRT President.

During an influenza pandemic, RTs and other front-line health care professionals, will be faced with conflicting responsibilities between work and their families as they face a disproportionate risk of exposure to the virus compared to the general population. Balancing the demands of work and ensuring patients receive optimal health care services with the need to protect their family, may prove extremely difficult for many respiratory therapists. "Respiratory therapists have the skills, knowledge and judgement to determine on a case-by-case basis their moral and professional duty to provide respiratory care and how to implement measures to minimize personal risks" stated President Ray Hubble.

The Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists provides national leadership through advocacy, service and unity to respiratory therapists in Canada. Established in 1964, the CSRT is the national professional association that represents over 2500 respiratory therapists across Canada and promotes exemplary standards of practice, conduct and performance in the provision of respiratory care.

Contact Information

  • For more information or to arrange
    an interview please contact:
    Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists
    Rita Hansen, Communications Manager
    613-731-3164 ext. 223
    rhansen@csrt.com