Respiratory care conference hosted at Mayo Civic Center

Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 11:30 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – The 19th annual North Regional Respiratory Care Conference returned to the Med City.

The four-day conference was held at the Mayo Civic Center highlighting respiratory needs.

“You heard talk about, ‘we’re gonna run out of ventilators. COVID, when you get sick you get put on a ventilator.’ The respiratory therapist is the person that runs that ventilator,” said Chris Gerlach, the former President of the Minnesota Society for Respiratory Care (MSRC).

Attendees at the conference could attend learning sessions, as well as network and discover techniques and health equipment to assist patients.

“A lot of things about the COVID were unknown in the beginning, we’re learning more and more how to treat it. We’ve got new drugs, new therapies coming out,” said Gerlach.

Lucas Torok, a respiratory health account executive for Baxter HillRom Technologies, had a table in the exhibit room. He displayed two machines that help with lung health and breathing

“The goal here is proactive lung maintenance keeping those clean and making sure we’re preventing atelectasis, which is lung collapse and also pneumonia, he said. “We can now provide this type of therapy in the hospital and at home.”

In addition, another exhibitor focused on telehealth as well.

“Elder people can actually get better, care faster. Because we have therapists that are staffed to be able to care for a patient at home,” said Brian Wattyer, the Chief of Operations with RtNow Respiratory Telehealth.

According to the American Association for Respiratory Care, there’s been a 27 percent decline in respiratory care education program enrollment since 2010.

“We are definitely losing more therapists to retirement than therapists entering the field through college. So we need to bring recognition and knowledge of respiratory therapy to the general public,” Gerlach said.

Community members are encouraged to help efforts in improving access to pulmonary rehabilitation by texting AARCVLC22 to 52886.

There will also be a Golden Lungs 5K Run/Walk on Tuesday starting at 4:30 p.m.

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