This week is the Society for Hospital Medicine (SHM)’s Annual Conference, and the Respiratory Compromise Institute (RCI) believes that hospitalists play a key part in the prevention – and eventual elimination – of respiratory compromise. Dr. Jeff Vender, who serves on RCI’s clinical advisory committee, has written an article published in “The Hospitalist” on why this is.

Respiratory Compromise is a state in which there is a high likelihood of decompensation into respiratory failure and/or death, but, in which specific interventions – be it therapeutic and/or monitoring – might prevent or mitigate this decompensation. “Respiratory failure is the second leading avoidable patient safety issue.1 It is one of the top five conditions leading to increasing hospital costs2 and the third most rapidly increasing hospital inpatient cost in the United States.3,” states Phil Porte, Executive Director of the Respiratory Compromise Institute.

Dr. Vender begins his article with a reference to research conducted by Dr. Adriana Ducci, on “Improving Survival from Sepsis in Noncritical Units: Role of Hospitalists and Sepsis Team in Early Detection and Initial Treatment of Septic Patients,” and makes a comparison between sepsis and respiratory compromise. Sepsis has been successfully prevented countless times because of hospitalist-managed protocols, and he believes that the same principles apply to respiratory compromise.

“I believe that greater awareness about respiratory compromise will lead to earlier diagnosis and interventions, which will theoretically improve patient outcomes. Moreover, as with the sepsis awareness campaign, hospitalists can play a key role in recognizing respiratory compromise and in the implementation of appropriate interventions,” says Dr. Vender in the article.

Dr. Vender discusses several examples of how respiratory compromise can occur, and offers a few suggestions on steps we can take together as nurses, hospitalists, or physicians, but most importantly he emphasizes that “simple recognition and greater awareness of respiratory compromise, just as with sepsis awareness campaigns, will mean more patients are diagnosed earlier, more appropriate interventions are made, and hopefully more adverse events and patient deaths are averted.”

Read the full article from The Hospitalist here, and join the conversation about respiratory compromise and ways to prevent it by leaving a comment, or following RCI on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.