COVID-19 risk compensation for Respiratory Therapists

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Canada is currently fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 is being tackled with a 2 pronged approach: minimize the spread & increase the capacity to care for the infected. Respiratory Therapists (RTs) are part of the latter. 

You’re probably asking yourself “What is a Respiratory Therapist?”.

Most people don’t know what a Respiratory Therapist is or what they do. The reason why the profession is so inconspicuous is that RTs treat patients when they're at their worst. This often means that patients are unconscious or in severe distress which is not conducive to building rapport and professional awareness. Simply put RTs are trained to use a variety of tools (one of them being a ventilator) to help people recover from or manage breathing problems. 

COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets created when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks; these highly infectious droplets can remain in the air for as long as 3 hours. If a person infected with COVID-19 experiences severe respiratory symptoms they will require a breathing tube and a breathing machine (ventilator). The process of inserting a breathing tube is called intubation and it creates respiratory droplets. During intubation the Doctor and the Respiratory Therapist stand close to the patient’s nose and mouth. This exposure to respiratory droplets increases a Doctor’s and RT’s risk of infection. 

Here are some of the respiratory droplet producing procedures that RTs play a crucial role in:

- Manual Ventilation
- Breathing tube insertion
- Removal of breathing tube 
- Breathing tube suctioning 
- Initiation and management of ventilators
- Delivery of respiratory medication (nebulizers)
- CPR 

Unlike Respiratory Therapists, other professions in BC have already received risk compensation.  Cashiers received a 15% wage increase and Nurses a $5/hr wage increase. 

Please help Respiratory Therapists request COVID-19 risk compensation.

Thank you for your time and support.