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AARC Members Mark World Spirometry Day

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October 21, 2010

One of the key events in this year’s International Year of the Lung campaign took place on Oct. 14 as health professionals around the globe marked World Spirometry Day, and AARC members were part of the mix. Here’s a brief look at who did what, where—

“She thinks it’s cool to smoke”

The Colorado Society for Respiratory Care’s Student Chapter converged on the state capitol building in Denver to screen visitors with the Drive4COPD screener and PFTs conducted under the watchful eye of Martin Carlos, RRT.  Student Chapter Advisor Greg Ginnane, RRT, says they reached about 60–75 people during the day-long event, and visitors to the booth, which featured pig lungs and homemade cookies that were a big hit with the schoolchildren touring the capitol that day, asked lots of great questions about lung health.

“One of the people who came through told about when her mom died from COPD,” he says. “She was concerned about her own lung health as she used to smoke.”

Colorado Society for Respiratory Care

Another family approached the pig lung station, where the mom promptly pushed her teenaged daughter forward and announced, “She thinks it’s cool to smoke.” Ginnane says the students handled the situation just right. “They did a great job of not trying to shame her, but instead showed her what emphysemic changes look like and how they affect breathing and quality of life. We also gave her some smoking cessation info and giveaways. Maybe a seed was planted.”

The students took to the streets around the capitol building during the lunch hour as well to ask members of the public to take the Drive4COPD screener, coming back with more than 100 completed questionnaires.

Visiting with the state Adjutant General

The state capitol building was also the destination for RTs from St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck, ND, who set up two tables in the Grand Hall next to the governor’s office. Fifty-six PFTs were performed during the half-day session, and 55 people completed the Drive4COPD screener. Although Governor John Hoeven was unable to attend, many state employees came by the booth, and the therapists even had a chance to visit with North Dakota Adjutant General, Major General David A. Sprynczynatyk.

Rajean Backman BS RRT AE-C participated in the ND capitol screening

“We decided to have it at the state capitol building to raise awareness of World Spirometry Day, Drive4COPD, and the role of the respiratory therapists to policy and lawmakers,” says Jody Bauer, RRT, AE-C. “Smoking cessation was encouraged, as well as follow-ups with PCPs for those with abnormal tests who were symptomatic.”

Andrea Lennick BS RRT was one of the ND crew participating in World Spirometry Day

In one case, the RTs had a chance to offer some much needed education on medication delivery devices as well. “One person who was screened told us that she had asthma,” recalls Bauer. “She performed the spirometry test, and then took her inhaler out of her pocket and used it. The education took place when we realized she was using her inhaled corticosteroid instead of a rescue inhaler!”  

Grateful visitors

The New York State Society for Respiratory Care teamed up with University Hospital and Crouse Hospital in Syracuse to screen members of the public with the Drive4COPD screener and PFTs at a local Healthlinks/Oasis site. With programs geared to the older crowd, plus free parking, it was deemed the perfect place to educate folks about lung disease, and Joe McDonald, MS, RRT, says that’s just what happened.

“I was surprised by how grateful some of the people were for the education and testing,” he says. “We had positive feedback, and several people thanked us for holding the event.”

Good practice for future RTs

Students in the respiratory care program at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, GA, performed more than 200 PFTs during an event held in conjunction with a local health fair.

Armstrong Atlantic State
Armstrong Atlantic State University

“Patients who attended had a host of diagnoses, including job-related lung diseases, COPD with significant air-trapping in young adults, CF in kids and adults, BPD adult survivors, lots of asthma, and a host of other lung diseases,” says Department Chair Doug Masini, EdD, RRT, RPFT. “Our students did a great job of explaining the hazards of smoking, secondhand smoke, air quality, and housekeeping and asthma, and are on their way to being compelling and effective patient educators.”