Kaleida Health Group Donates Pulmonary Units to Genesee's Respiratory Care Program

Genesee Community College's Board of Trustees this evening accepted a donation of two sensormedics pulmonary function testing units from the Buffalo-based Kaleida Health System at its regular March meeting this evening. The units were used at Millard Fillmore hospital facilities.

The sophisticated units, which cost about $35,000 each when purchased new, help respiratory therapists assess breathing problems and pulmonary diseases such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in patients. They are used in hospital respiratory departments and outpatient pulmonary clinics. The sensormedics units help therapists identify both the nature and degree of respiratory distress, and will replace an older pulmonary screening system used in Genesee's Respiratory Care lab.

Ronald M. Jacobs, Associate Professor and Director of the College's Respiratory Care program, said that the sensormedics units will give students the ability to practice diagnostic techniques with highly advanced equipment. "We already have what we believe is one of the best respiratory care teaching labs in the northeastern United States," he said. "The addition of these units will add even higher quality to the lab, and give students the opportunity to use state-of-the-art equipment as they prepare to practice."

The College's lab contains a wide variety of diagnostic and treatment equipment - the same items a therapist will use in a hospital, according to Professor Jacobs.

Respiratory therapists provide diagnostic and treatment services to people who have respiratory difficulties. They work in a wide variety of health care settings. Respiratory therapists, for example, work in emergency departments where they provide services to patients who have difficulty breathing as the result of a traumatic injury or accident. But they also provide ongoing services to people who have chronic respiratory disorders, such as asthma.

Students wishing to become respiratory therapists must complete a program that spans two years of full-time study, or a longer period of part-time study. Respiratory therapists usually work as members of a health care team and exercise a wide degree of independent judgment in their work.

Both New York State and the nation as a whole are suffering from a shortage of respiratory therapists, according to Professor Jacobs. "I receive calls regularly from hospitals and other health care facilities seeking respiratory therapists," he said. "My frustration is that more jobs exist than there are therapists. Needless to say, all of our graduates find employment within the field, and many have multiple job offers even before they graduate."

Individuals interested in learning more about the respiratory care field or about Geness espiratory Care program may call Professor Jacobs at 343-0055, extension 6633.