Like many rural critical access hospitals, Cascade Medical Center located in Cascade, Idaho does not employ respiratory care practitioners, and has limited experience using the equipment necessary to treat patients with severe respiratory illness. When the COVID pandemic hit, staff from medical center contacted Megan Koster, chair of the Department of Respiratory Care, for help educating their staff on how to best care for their patients.
“We were overjoyed when Cascade Medical contacted us to work with their providers,” Koster said. “Boise State is home to the largest respiratory care program in the country, but serving Idaho‘s needs is a top priority for the department. This opportunity was a great example of professionals teaming up to utilize existing local resources to benefit Idahoans who live in areas with limited access to large medical centers. We look forward to fostering this relationship and cultivating others like it.”
Jeff Anderson, associate professor from the Department of Respiratory Care, held four workshops at Cascade Medical Center for their medical staff. Anderson’s instruction included a brief review of pulmonary physiology and diseases, and how to use the equipment needed to treat severely ill patients.
During the workshops, lung mechanics were simulated with the use of Cascade Medical’s ventilator and one of respiratory care’s test lungs. The test lung allowed Anderson to illustrate how ventilator controls are adjusted to provide the best care for patients.
Anderson also worked with the center on strategies to conserve oxygen supplies, which is critical for smaller rural hospitals that often use oxygen in cylinders rather than a large capacity liquid oxygen system found in larger medical centers.
In partnership with Lonny Ashworth, faculty emeritus and current adjunct faculty for Department of Respiratory Care, Anderson continues to work with Cascade Medical Center, consulting on the purchase of a new ventilator and the training associated with the new devices.