Registered Respiratory Therapist added to WDMH team during pandemic

WINCHESTER — During the COVID-19 pandemic, Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH) welcomed a new staff member. Heather Houlahan is a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RT) and brings new expertise and experience to the team.

“We wanted to ensure we had the best team available to support any COVID-19 patients at WDMH as well as other patients with respiratory concerns,” explains Nathalie Boudreau, Vice President, Clinical Services. “Heather provides crucial, specialized knowledge and is a great addition to WDMH.”

Respiratory Therapists specialize in critical care and cardio-pulmonary medicine. They are often involved in crisis situations, supporting patients suffering from acute critical conditions, cardiac and lung disease. They often work closely with anesthetists to provide patient respiratory care. “Having a respiratory therapist, especially someone with Heather’s skill and experience allows us to offer much better support to patients with all sorts of breathing issues,” notes Dr. Patricia Moussette, Chief of Anesthesia. “From testing outpatients to treating patients with infections or heart failure, Heather has helped us do more for our community.”

Houlahan has been an RT for 25 years and says she is no stranger to crisis situations: “My father was a pilot who flew Medivac ambulances and he introduced me to his respiratory therapy colleagues. Plus, I have 7 siblings, so I’ve grown up in a lot of chaos!”

Since arriving at WDMH, she has secured new equipment, created new policies and procedures, and provided training to staff, particularly related to intubating a patient and using ventilators.

“It’s all about the team,” says Heather. “When you are in a crisis situation, everyone has a role, and you know your role. I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the team at WDMH.”

Plans are underway to further develop WDMH’s services for patients with respiratory issues such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma.

Those with comments or suggestions about hospital services are asked to contact WDMH President and CEO Cholly Boland — 613.774.1049 or cboland@wdmh.on.ca.

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