IRVING - The Respiratory Therapy Department at Lake Shore Health Care Center in Irving has been undergoing some changes focused on enhancing patient comfort, privacy, and the overall testing experience.
Sharon Smith, RRT, Respiratory Therapy Manager, explained the services have been relocated within the hospital, and can now be found in an upgraded and roomier space across from the Ambulatory Surgery area.
"It's really nice for our staff and our patients. Now, the patient area is completely separate from the office, meeting, and supply areas. There is also a dedicated entrance and comfortable waiting room. The focus is truly on patient comfort," Smith explained.
Respiratory Therapists Sharon Smith, RRT, and Valerie Collopy, RRT, show off the Pulmonary Function Testing booth in their recently renovated department at Lake Shore Health Care Center.)
PFTs are a group of non-invasive tests that provide measureable feedback about lung function. PFT testing is offered to individuals 13 and over in need of assessment for lung disorders such as asthma, emphysema, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and pulmonary fibrosis. Tests may also be ordered for those who have difficulty breathing in relation to other disease processes or other issues such as shortness of breath, coughing, chronic bronchitis, and tobacco use. Some medications may cause lung problems and PFTs may be ordered routinely to check for changes in a patient's lung function. For others, a test may be given prior to an operation to assure a patient is appropriate for surgery. PFTs are also required for certain occupations, such as firefighters, or other positions that require the use of a breathing apparatus.
Patients who have a physician order for Pulmonary Function Testing can undergo services in the one-on-one setting with the staff including New York State Registered Respiratory Therapists Smith and Valerie Collopy. Appointments are typically available from 8 a.m. through the afternoon on Monday through Friday. Those looking for more information may call the department at 951-7113. The department staff also encourages physician offices and businesses to contact them for tours of the new location, or to receive additional information about patient testing.
At Lake Shore Health Care Center's new area, the patient is seated comfortably in a clear booth while the staff is seated nearby to clearly explain and, in many cases, demonstrate how the patient should breathe for the various tests.
"We're friendly and knowledgeable, so we make the patient comfortable. It's a relaxing atmosphere," Smith said. "We reassure patients during the testing, answer a lot of questions about the disease process, and educate them as much as possible. We try to explain everything in a way that's easy to understand."
The department's medical director reads the test and returns the results to the ordering physician within 48 hours. The department manager explained that a nice feature of Lake Shore's registration process is that patients are called in advance of their appointment, so their background information (e.g. smoking history or occupational exposures) can be recorded in the computer prior to their arrival.
"It gives us more information to start the process with," she explained. The entire PFT process, including registration, usually takes about an hour.
Lake Shore Health Care Center is part of TLC Health Network, providing quality healthcare services to families across Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and southern Erie County. For more information, visit TLChealth.org.