St. Mary’s Hospital for Children’s Respiratory Program Earns National Recognition

Children with special needs and their families can breathe a little easier these days – literally – thanks to a state-of-the-art Respiratory Program at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children, New York’s City’s only pediatric post-acute care facility. Within just months of initiating the program, St. Mary’s was awarded “Quality Respiratory Care Recognition” (QRCR) by the American Association for Respiratory Care in recognition of the high level of respiratory care St. Mary’s provides to patients.

Joining the ranks of only 26 other hospitals and long-term care facilities in New York State to receive this coveted designation is a testament to the quality of care and talented staff at St. Mary’s. However, the true measure of the program’s success is in the outstanding clinical outcomes achieved.

In the first few months of offering comprehensive respiratory care in St. Mary’s recently-opened Children’s Pavilion, the hospital has experienced a 30% drop in respiratory-related emergent discharges to acute care hospitals and emergency departments. These results are remarkable given that more than half of the 97 young patients at St. Mary’s require respiratory care during their stay.

Additionally, leading-edge respiratory equipment technology and design such as state-of-the-art mechanical ventilators and “piped in” medical gases and suction enable St. Mary’s to now admit children with greater respiratory needs, including children dependent on ventilators.

“From the moment a child arrives, we look to begin the weaning process with a focus on improving the child’s quality of life,” said William Gutekunst, Director of Respiratory Therapy. “Our new high tech building, a highly competent and experienced respiratory staff along with the support of our Medical Department affords us a safer and more effective approach to managing the fragile and clinically complex pediatric respiratory patient.”

St. Mary’s Respiratory Program provides round-the-clock respiratory care and medical coverage to children with medically complex conditions. Respiratory Therapists work under the supervision of a physician and assist patients with breathing problems and cardiopulmonary disorders. They work with other healthcare professionals to develop treatment plans, assess options for the patient, and are responsible for implementing and following the respiratory treatment plan. Respiratory therapists work closely with families to educate them on their child’s respiratory protocols while at the hospital and help to transition the family home upon discharge.

St. Mary’s was recognized by the American Association of Respiratory Care for providing a level of respiratory care consistent with national standards and guidelines, ensuring patient safety, and adhering to a strict set of criteria governing its respiratory care services.