What is a Pulmonary Therapist?
A Pulmonary therapist is a medical specialist that helps maintain or seeks to improve lung function in a patient with lung disease. Since the most common area mesothelioma develops is in the chest, pulmonary therapists are frequently involved in the treatment of a patient with mesothelioma.
Pulmonary therapists can work with patients either in a hospital or sometimes, more conveniently, at home. They work together as a team with other doctors to provide a patient with mesothelioma the best type of care available.
There are numerous ways in which a pulmonary therapist can help one diagnosed with mesothelioma in order to improve their quality of life. A common recommendation doctors give is to have the pulmonary therapist work with the patient to strengthen lung function before he or she undergoes surgery to remove tumors. Subsequently, after surgery a doctor may recommend the pulmonary therapist work with the patient again, this time to recover lung function from setbacks the organ may have encountered during surgery.
Even if a patient is not scheduled for a surgery, pulmonary therapists are still frequently used to help mesothelioma patients with a variety of exercises. These exercises, especially breathing workouts, strive to help strengthen a patient’s lung functions lost from cancer. These specialists also work with patients in teaching them special coughing methods which help clear their lungs of fluids. By doing this correctly, patients may be able to avoid surgeries such as Pleurocentesis which do virtually the same thing just in a surgical manner.
What is a Pulmonary Function Test?
Pulmonary function tests are a group of tests that determine how well the lungs are functioning. They are conducted by a pulmonary therapist to establish how well the two main lung functions are working; how well the patient’s lungs use air, and how well the lungs move oxygen through the patient’s blood.
Pulmonary function testing is an essential diagnostic tool for a patient’s therapist. These tests provide a foundation for a patient. With this basic foundation, depending on the status of the disease, a patient’s pulmonary therapist may either strive to increase the PFT numbers, or just keep them steady.
Using a Pulmonary Therapist
With all the distractions a patient encounters during their initial diagnosis of mesothelioma, it is easy for one to overlook something as general as a pulmonary therapist as they are not used with the intention of curing mesothelioma. Since mesothelioma is such a serious cancer, and pulmonary therapists do not provide any sort of curative cancer treatment, more is needed in order to cure a patient with this disease.
That being said, it is necessary not to neglect the importance of a pulmonary therapist. These therapists will help maintain lung function and strengthen the lungs which will surely aid in recovery due to the rigors of treatment. Even though they do not provide surgical methods of treatment, a pulmonary therapist works to slow the decline of lung function which improves patient’s quality of life and allows them to carry out everyday activities.
Where to Find a Pulmonary Therapist
Pulmonary therapists are usually employed by hospitals. Patients should as their physician for a referral to a pulmonary therapist. Again, they can work with someone as an inpatient of even in the comfort of their own home. These therapists are typically covered by insurance if a patient is suffering from lung diseases like mesothelioma. If a patient has a history of smoking, some insurance companies won’t pay, or they may simply limit the amount of visits that are covered, however most companies will cover the fee if a physician recommends treatment.
Be Involved, Ask Questions!
Being diagnosed with mesothelioma may bring on a whirlwind of emotions. With all the medical jargon and procedures a doctor may mention, it is important for the patient to feel comfortable and understand everything that is going on. One of the best ways of doing that is to ask questions. Doctors and therapists may not realize that a patient is unfamiliar with a specific term or treatment and will not clarify unless the patient or their family asks. Questions are key.