Announcement Impacting Your Scope of Practice

On April 22, 2021 the Ontario Government enacted an additional declaration under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act that impacts all Regulated Health Professionals’ scope of practice when working in hospitals, including Respiratory Therapists.

SEE DETAILS HERE

Help Keep Ultrasound Around beyond the recent Emergency Declaration.

ICYMI, the Ontario government is allowing Regulated Health Professionals – including Respiratory Therapists – working in hospitals to perform duties outside their scope when responding to the COVID pandemic, if it falls within our professional practice and competencies. Read RTSO’s announcement here.

This means that tasks/roles requiring the use of ultrasound, defibrillation, or peripheral electro-neuro stimulation no longer require delegation once an order is given. This will help remove bottlenecks in our hospitals across Ontario and help provide treatment to patients more quickly and safely.

We know RTs are stretched to their limits. The RTSO is working to keep this temporary amendment permanent – especially as it relates to the use of ultrasound. For RTs that must insert arterial lines into patients with very weak pulses, ultrasound is an extremely useful tool to be armed with. Without it, complications can arise waiting for an intensivist, but it also wastes time, drugs, equipment, and PPE.

Help Keep Ultrasound Around – for good!  Let’s prove to the Ministry of Health that this is best practice and that ALL respiratory therapists should be armed with an ultrasound probe to assist with procedures and tests that we are responsible for.

How you can help

  1. Download this calendar tracking sheet and post it in your department.

  2. At the end of your shift, calculate how many arterial lines were inserted and how many required the use of ultrasound as an assistive device.

  3. At the end of each month, take a photo of the sheet and send to office@rtso.ca so we can compile the data to share with the Ministry of Health.

Thank you for all that you’re doing to provide the best patient care possible. The RTSO is working to help remove barriers on your behalf. Stay strong, together we will beat this pandemic.

Welcome to the Spring issue of RTSO Airwaves! 

We know you are giving it your all right now, going above and beyond. Thank you for all that you are doing!

In this issue, we are pleased to include some introductions.  Welcome to the Director of Communications, the Leadership Committee Chair, the Co-Chair of the Community RT Committee, the 2 new student Co-Chairs of the Student Affairs Committee, as well as the future Editor-in-Chief of RTSO Airwaves!

The President’s Update summarizes the work underway and highlights our strategic priorities:  advocacy, communication, education, governance, and membership – be sure to give it a read!  There’s also a reflective piece on our recent mental health webinars, some job seeker advice, and once again our students shine with some pretty amazing literature reviews! You’ll also find the announcement of the RTSO Student Achievement Award winners included.

Stay safe, be well, and happy reading!

CHECK IT OUT HERE!

How respiratory therapists are indispensable in the fight against COVID

Information Morning – Nova Scotia

A hero in the fight against COVID-19 whom most of us will never ever see. Mary Jane Hampton talks about the vital importance of respiratory therapists.

RTSO Webinar: Protecting Yourself at Work in a Challenging New Climate

Recorded: April 23, 2021

Lawyers, Brian Whitwham LLP and Rohit Kumar LLP talk about what you need to know as a practicing Respiratory Therapist in Ontario.

SEE VIDEO & SLIDESHOW HERE

Respiratory Therapy Society of Ontario Supports the
Province-Wide State of Emergency
and Stay-at-Home Order

Statement from President, Paula Smith – Thursday, April 8, 2021

The Respiratory Therapy Society of Ontario supports this province-wide State of Emergency and Stay-at-Home Order. As Respiratory Therapists, we are in the face of almost every COVID patient. It’s been more than a year of going full tilt inside our hospitals and this third wave is daunting and taxing. We are exhausted and feel depleted.

We know this situation is very challenging for all of us, but it is vital that we immediately pump the breaks to stop the surge of the virus as vaccine deployment ramps up. The public must understand that ALL our hospitals are in a dire situation with the variants taking over our ICUs and inpatient admissions. Non-COVID patients with aggressive cancers or other critical conditions are having their surgeries delayed to a point that will risk their lives.

Please join us and be part of the solution. Stay home. Stop the spread. We are counting on you!

#RTStrOng

Staged Precautions for Pulmonary Diagnostic Testing During and After
COVID-19 Pandemic in Ontario

The Respiratory Therapy Society of Ontario (RTSO) recognizes the need for guidance for pulmonary diagnostic testing (PDT) during and after the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario. RTSO also acknowledges that there is limited and emerging evidence surrounding the potential for exposure to COVID-19 by patients and clinicians during PDT.

As the Province moves through the various phases/stages of pandemic control, considerations must be made to ensure that patient and clinician safety is balanced with clinical benefit during these procedures. When there is a lack of clear evidence, the RTSO recommends that precautionary principles govern the decision making process to optimize a safe approach and minimize the risk of disease spread.

The following document is intended to provide guidance for a staged approach for PDT in a variety of settings, taking local public health guidance and resources into consideration including:

1. Organizational Risk Assessment for Services and Test Capacity
2. COVID-19 Screening
3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
4. Reconfigure Test Space and Patient Flow
5. Environmental Controls and Cleaning
6. Reorganize Test Scheduling

This document may be updated as new evidence emerges.

SEE FULL DOCUMENT HERE

We hope that this information will be helpful in providing a safe pulmonary diagnostic testing process for both patients and staff. Any feedback should be forwarded to the RTSO Office at office@rtso.ca.

Thank you,
RTSO Board of Directors
RTSO Leadership Committee

SEE GUIDELINES

The RTSO would like to thank
countless people across Ontario.

Respiratory Therapists across this province demonstrated unbelievable resilience, leadership, and dedication despite the increased pressures and demands on our profession. In the interest of improving awareness of RT’s and creating improved opportunities for RT collaboration the RTSO board of directors decided to purchase services from the government advocacy agency Stosic & Associates. Part of the deliverables include increased awareness around our profession and our impact on patient care in Ontario. Collaboration with Stosic & Associates directly resulted in the announcements from both Hon. Christine Elliott and Premier Doug Ford. We take full responsibility for those announcements and are very proud of this accomplishment. I think we can all say that we are incredibly happy to be recognized!

The RTSO is alive and it is interesting to reflect to 2019 when Sue Jones stood up and let the membership know that the RTSO was at risk of closing due to a very bleak financial situation. Fast forward to now with Sue Martin presenting at our 2020 AGM that we now have a balanced budget despite not being able to generate revenue from an annual educational event. This is a massive success and is due to everyone who has supported the organization. We share this success with all of you from volunteers on the board and committees, to those of you who joined to support the organization, and with our corporate members who have supported the RTSO in both joining as members and supporting webinars. All this support has allowed us to focus on what is important to RT’s and to create a relevant strategic plan. Your support enabled the RTSO to be responsive to COVID-19 and your needs as this pandemic evolved. When the pandemic pay initiative surfaced, we were fortunate enough to be included due to your emails to political leaders and the start of a wonderful relationship with Stosic & Associates. This partnership has created a pathway for improved relationship building, creating awareness and introducing the addition of Respiratory Therapy in key legislative changes. We continue to engage with the government to realize our goals related to scope of practice, PTSD, and involvement of RT’s for improvements in clinical practice and patient care.

Not taking a back seat at all are the excellent learning opportunities that have taken place during this pandemic and over RT week. The RTSO is proud to have been responsive to RT’s evolving learning needs. Using virtual technology, we held the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the RTSO to provide the membership with the opportunity to hear about the work and successes the RTSO has realized over the past year.

Another great outcome of our work this year is the increased interest in RTSO involvement and membership. Annually there is turnover of Directors on the board. This year we posted several positions and received an impressive response with applications for each outgoing Director. This is a positive change as in the past several years recruitment proved to be difficult and was often a result of current board members directly reaching out to members. We are so proud to see interest increasing and hope that this continues as members see the value of this organization and how we can improve your daily practice. Stay tuned for the posting for President-elect for 2021 and please consider applying as we will continue to make a difference.

This past year has highlighted the tremendous value we bring to the healthcare system. Awareness and involvement of our profession is improving because of RTSO initiatives and members’ hard work. Now is the time to join the RTSO and be part of this exciting new chapter. To our members, we thank you for your loyalty, dedication and for showcasing how much stronger we are together. We could not have done it without you!

Job Postings

West Parry Sound Health Centre has a regular full-time position available for a Respiratory Therapist.

SEE DETAILS AND APPLY HERE

Covid-19 Vaccine Update

Click on the button below to get the latest information on how and when vaccines will be rolled out across the province. 

As you know Respiratory Therapists in acute care have had access quickly however our colleagues in community care are in a different phase of the rollout.

The RTSO has been able to communicate with the Health Minister’s office to ensure community based Respiratory Therapists are included. Public Health units across Ontario will be the key contact as they plan the vaccine rollout in their respective regions. The RTSO is hoping to contact each public health unit to advocate and ensure community based Respiratory Therapists are included in plans for vaccine uptake.

See the latest information regarding the roll out of Covid-19 Vaccines HERE

Joint Statement from the
OHA, OMA, RNAO, RPNAO and the RTSO

As New Modelling Confirms ICU Cases Climbing Toward Devastating Levels, Health Organizations Re-issue Plea for Tougher Government Restrictions and Help from each Ontarian

SEE JOINT STATEMENT HERE

ATTENTION
Action required by all RRT’s
in Ontario!
Members and Non-members

The RTSO is lobbying and working behind the scenes to improve your ability to use ultrasound equipment when performing procedures to improve patient care.  We have been working with a government relations firm Stosic & Associates and we are now reaching out to you for some help.  Simply download and copy/paste the templated letter into an email and send it to your MPP. We have also included instructions on how to find your MPP.

The more RT’s across Ontario that send this letter the more support we will have moving forward with changing the authorization of the use of ultrasound. 

DOWNLOAD HERE

Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) Integrated Role Profile in Ontario

The RTSO has created a document with the help of many RT’s across the province to assist organizations who employ or intend to employ RT’s with a description of a broad, inclusive role working in a variety of practice settings across the continuum of care, demonstrating our specialized expertise in all sectors of healthcare.

Please take some time to familiarize yourself with the document and use it as a reference and share broadly with other stakeholders.

VIEW HERE

AAs Excluded from
Pandemic Pay

Doug Ford recognized many healthcare workers in his pandemic pay initiative. However, he forgot key players that were in hospitals every single day and in direct contact with COVID patients throughout the pandemic.

These forgotten healthcare workers have fought for recognition of their services during this pandemic and for entitlement to pandemic pay. They include Anesthesia Assistants, Perfusionists, Medical Radiation Technologists, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers,  Medical Lab Technicians, Registered Dieticians, and Physiotherapists. This list is not exhaustive.

Imagine you’re a very sick COVID patient entering a hospital. An Anesthesia Assistant helps anesthetize you and place your breathing tube. The progression of COVID’s effect on your lungs/body is tracked by images taken by radiation technologists/other medical imaging staff; they will take multiple images/scans during your hospitalization to help guide treatment. Blood work and labs are collected and analyzed by medical lab technicians. Your condition worsens and you require extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) – the most intense form of life support – a perfusionist will be managing that machine and keeping you alive until the machine is no longer necessary. Perfusionists see the sickest COVID patients every single day. Your body is continually growing weaker as it is fighting COVID, physiotherapists ensure your body stays strong while registered dieticians manage your diet to optimize your body for recovery. Diagnosis, treatment, recovery, and rehab are a team effort.

All these individuals were left off the list of being eligible for pandemic pay despite having direct contact with COVID patients. If painters, plasterers, locksmiths, carpenters, truck drivers, electricians, and other hospital staff who did not directly contact COVID patients qualified, WHY DIDN’T WE?

Please help us appeal to Doug Ford to remedy this situation.

If your profession was also excluded from Ford’s pandemic pay program in Ontario, please email me at fairpandemicpay@gmail.com.

Please sign the Pandemic Pay for Ontario’s Forgotten Healthcare Workers Petition

SIGN THE PETITION HERE

Occupational Stress Injury (OSI) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Respiratory Therapists (RTs)

It is imperative to have services and supports in place to keep RTs protected, mentally fit and healthy to ensure we can carry on our important and heavily replied upon expert services in this very intense and stressful role…for the good of each one of us and the patients we serve.

Respiratory therapists (RTs) work as essential members of rapid response, various code, disaster, radiation and other emergency response teams.

DETAILS

Announcements during RT Week from
Hon. Christine Elliott and
Premier Doug Ford