RT Autonomy Cited as Factor in Timely Use of NIV


Studies have shown noninvasive ventilation (NIV) reduces the need for intubation in patients hospitalized with a severe exacerbation of COPD, and it also decreases hospital length of stay and mortality. So why aren’t more hospitals using it?

To answer that question, U.S. researchers decided to conduct in-depth interviews with 32 clinicians at seven hospitals considered to be leading the way in the use of NIV for COPD.  Among the group were 15 respiratory therapists.

The study revealed a range of factors come into play, but specifically pointed to respiratory therapist autonomy as facilitating the timely initiation of NIV in COPD patients. Having a sufficient number of RTs available was deemed vital to success as well.

Other important factors identified by the investigators included provider buy-in, interdisciplinary teamwork, staff education, frequent re-assessment of patients, attention to patient comfort, adequate equipment, and flexibility in staffing.

The researchers believe other hospitals may be able to use these findings to “optimize their use of NIV among patients with COPD.”

The study was published ahead of print by the Annals of the American Thoracic Society on July 18.

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