Education
Fact-checked

At PracticalAdultInsights, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What Does a Respiratory Therapy Assistant Do?

A Respiratory Therapy Assistant aids in diagnosing, treating, and managing patients with breathing or cardiopulmonary disorders. They work under the supervision of a Respiratory Therapist, providing crucial support in patient care. Curious about the skills needed for this role?
Nick Mann
Nick Mann

Working as a respiratory therapy assistant involves aiding a primary respiratory therapist with treating patients to ensure proper care. Being successful in this career usually requires a person with extensive knowledge of respiratory therapy equipment and a compassionate nature. In general, an individual will need to complete at least one year at a technical school that focuses on respiratory health. Some typical responsibilities of a respiratory therapy assistant include observing the status of patients, preparing equipment, cleaning equipment, maintaining patient records and showing patients how to use equipment.

Routinely observing the status of patients is an integral part of this job. To ensure stability and well-being, it's important for a respiratory therapy assistant to periodically check each patient's breathing. Since a primary respiratory therapist is often busy, it's up to an assistant to make sure a patient's equipment is hooked up properly and that the patient is comfortable. If a problem arises, it's up to an assistant to immediately report the incident to a higher up. Consequently, it's mandatory for an assistant to have a full comprehension of respiratory equipment and be able to identify breathing difficulties in patients.

A respiratory therapy assistant may be responsible for checking a patient's breathing.
A respiratory therapy assistant may be responsible for checking a patient's breathing.

Another responsibility is correctly preparing respiratory equipment. For example, a respiratory therapy assistant might prepare a ventilator for a patient and regulate the amount of air flow. To ensure safety, he might also need to test the equipment for proper functioning. Since some types of equipment contain gases or combustible materials, a respiratory therapy assistant must always use caution.

Patients who have been placed on a ventilator during surgery are often weaned off of the respiratory support within a few days.
Patients who have been placed on a ventilator during surgery are often weaned off of the respiratory support within a few days.

Along with this, most respiratory equipment needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. Things like oxygen masks in particular must be sterilized between uses with different patients. In addition, an assistant might need to check the amount of oxygen in a tank to ensure there is enough prior to the next use.

Maintaining patient records is also common for a respiratory therapy assistant. Throughout a patient's stay at a medical facility, it's usually up to an assistant to make sure that all treatments and types of respiratory equipment are documented. He will also include any tests that are administered and the results. Keeping accurate records is important for sharing with other physicians and medical facilities later on.

A respiratory therapy assistant may administer oxygen therapy to a patient.
A respiratory therapy assistant may administer oxygen therapy to a patient.

Additionally, an individual will sometimes show patients how to use respiratory equipment. In most cases, this pertains to patients who are preparing to leave a facility and return home. It's the job of a respiratory therapy assistant to demonstrate how to regulate air flow, attach breathing masks and safely handle equipment.

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • A respiratory therapy assistant may be responsible for checking a patient's breathing.
      By: Patricia Marks
      A respiratory therapy assistant may be responsible for checking a patient's breathing.
    • Patients who have been placed on a ventilator during surgery are often weaned off of the respiratory support within a few days.
      By: sudok1
      Patients who have been placed on a ventilator during surgery are often weaned off of the respiratory support within a few days.
    • A respiratory therapy assistant may administer oxygen therapy to a patient.
      By: sudok1
      A respiratory therapy assistant may administer oxygen therapy to a patient.
    • Respiratory therapists work with patients with breathing difficulties.
      By: snapgalleria
      Respiratory therapists work with patients with breathing difficulties.
    • A respiratory therapy assistant may use a finger pulse oximeter to assess whether a patient requires supplemental oxygen.
      By: Africa Studio
      A respiratory therapy assistant may use a finger pulse oximeter to assess whether a patient requires supplemental oxygen.
    • Respiratory therapy assistants instruct patients in the use of an inhaler.
      By: Patryssia
      Respiratory therapy assistants instruct patients in the use of an inhaler.