In the News

AARC Fund Produces Research Results

March 18, 2009

Since 1996 the AARC has funded a One Million Dollar Research Fund aimed at supporting research studies in clinical areas important to respiratory patients. The purpose of this fund is to determine the outcomes of care provided by respiratory care practitioners with expanded roles and scope of practice in various settings, and to determine the outcomes of delivering respiratory care services in various settings. Investigators are encouraged to evaluate and compare the roles, effectiveness, and efficiency of respiratory care practitioners with other providers of respiratory care in various settings.

This month, a group of investigators who received funds from the program published the results of their study in the Journal of Asthma.

David Shelledy, PhD, RRT, FAARC; Terry S. LeGrand, PhD, RRT, FAARC; Donna D. Gardner, MSHP, RRT; and Jay Peters, MD, FAARC, looked at outcomes for 159 asthma patients between the ages of 18 and 64 who were randomly assigned to either usual care (UC) following discharge for an acute exacerbation or an in-home asthma management program provided by an RT (AMP-RT) or an RN (AMP-RN).

While both the AMP-RT and AMP-RN groups had significantly fewer hospitalizations and inpatient days, lower hospitalization costs, and greater quality of life and patient satisfaction improvements at six months than the UC group, those in the AMP-RT group also had better PEFR and St. Georges Respiratory Questionnaire Total and Symptoms change scores when compared to usual care. Significantly better asthma episode self-management scores and patient satisfaction scores were seen in the AMP-RT group versus the AMP-RN and UC groups as well.

“This research study validates the value of sending respiratory therapists into the patient’s home to provide asthma management,” says AARC Director of Management and Education Bill Dubbs, MEd, MHA, RRT, FAARC. “The AARC was pleased to play a role in bringing the study to fruition and we hope that our members will use the findings to support asthma management programs in their own facilities.”

The AARC is working to increase the RT’s role in asthma management across the board, most recently with the establishment of the Asthma Self-Management Education (ASME) certification program, developed in response to new CPT codes calling for these programs to be certified by a professional organization.