Finding a New Way to Help Patients With COVID Breathe
When the ICU at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital filled with patients who were intubated due to COVID, Kelly Parmet, a senior occupational therapy assistant, and the hospital’s rehab staff researched what could be done to help these patients. Armed with evidence-based research and their years of experience, the rehab staff decided to assist with placing the patients into prone position. Prone position is the medical term for lying flat on the stomach, and it is used in health care settings to help patients with certain conditions and symptoms get relief. It relieves pressure caused by gravity, distributes oxygen evenly, and helps clear respiratory secretions.
While placing patients with COVID into the prone position had been covered in the news, LBJ Hospital was one of the first hospitals in Houston, TX, to integrate this practice. To carry out the task, the hospital used “prone teams” made up of occupational therapists, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, nurses, and physicians.