Monday, December 3, 2007

Does smoking drive our profession?

Is it possible that smoking drives out profession? Is it also possible that the patient load of our profession could be decreasing significantly in the future?

This is just maybe a theory I have thought about but let me explain myself. If you look at the patients who we give nebulizer tx's to on a regular basis the majority of them are COPDer's and Asthmatics in trouble. Now say we cut out the COPDers and notice how much our census will drop because to me it seems that I see more COPDers than I do asthmatics so if we see less of them our census goes down right, also with more education and better use of medications there can be less of the admitted in the hospital. Here is a article showing this.

Self-Management Education for COPD Patients Cuts Hospital Admissions

There are a couple of sites that have shown that study that I have found, but I'm only going to post one for now.

Another way to look at my thoughts on how our census will decrease in the future goes like this: The majority of COPDers in the world are of a older age. Now here is where my thinking comes in so stay with me, but it shouldn't be that hard. Due to the fact that the COPDers are older and there wasn't a whole lot of education on the harmful effects of cigarette smoking at that time versus the education there is now (seriously the military packages cigarettes with the soldiers meals in WW2) and the perception of smoking has in the United States in today's day and age. It's getting banned everywhere, the price is increasing, there are warnings everywhere, you have to be a certain age, and it's almost getting to the point where it is illegal to smoke anywhere anymore. All of this in my opinion equals less COPDers in the future which will in turn should decrease the census for nebulizer treatments with COPD patients.

Lets look a little deeper now also. In the past there was asbestosis which caused respiratory problems and this is now outlawed. Different jobs that have fumes that can be inhaled are not required by OSHA for the personnel that do these jobs to wear a mask that filters out these fumes which can cause respiratory issues for example automobile painters which have the paint that can be inhaled. These precautions can cause a decrease of people with lung problem due to inhaled fumes, particles or whatever is able to be inhaled at certain jobs.

Well there you have it my ideas on how our job census will decrease in the future, basically when the current population over 65 passes on there is a possibility of a decrease in patients due to education and studies of smoking and harmful inhalants. According to this study Half of elderly patients discharged from hospital following a first admission for COPD are dead within 3 to 7 years. So that right there could show that it really might not take to long.

Remember this is in no way a scientific study but just a thought I have had, but I would love to hear anybody else's opinion on these ideas. Of course there are also the studies about air pollutants causing COPD like symptoms in people also, so maybe if we don't get green enough as a country it will stay the same but the cause will be different.

Drive on RT's


Terminal Weaner said...

Interesting, but I'm not sure that cutting out everyone with COPD is the thing that will put us out of business. I live in Detroit. If we got rid of every last smoking related COPD'r we'd still have a load that was barely managable. That load would be full of COPD'rs that derived their disease from the particulate cornucopia that is Detroit. We have the highest incidence of Asthma in the US. This is where toxins are born. Perhaps the disclusion of all smoking related COPD'rs would get our loads to a somewhat managable level but not put us out. I like to think that the AARC is hammering out deals and lobbying to create legislation that allows RRT's with BS's to attend MS level curriculum and become the equivelent of CRNA's... but I know that this is a pipe dream. We don't get much from the AARC, NBRC nor CoARC these days except grief and bills.

Freadom said...

Very interesting article. You also have to add Asthma education to the mix. I find the # of asthma patients is way down where I work. They might come into ER on occasion for a boost, but rarely are admitted anymore.

I don't think this will get rid of RTs, however I think, so long as we remain professional, that our roles might change with time. Other than being treatment jockeys, we are way to valueable to the hospital to simply dump. They will find a way to keep us around.

sometimesibreathe said...

I live in Atlanta so RTs are always in high demand. Atlanta is rated #1 worst city for asthamatics. I think in time, RTs will have much more roles.

Lauren said...

Studies have shown that since the time when stringent smoking bans came into effect in the US, the number of emergency room asthma patients reporting to hospitals have decreased considerably. This study was conducted by the University of Kentucky and the results are after Lexington banned smoking in the public places. .

adelen said...

There is now a new quit smoking drug available in the market. This latest breakthrough is known as Chantix. It is able to help smokers snub out their addiction by working on the brain.