How Certified Respiratory Educators Help You Breathe
Patient Perspective Certified Respiratory Educators are specialized health professionals who help people manage their asthma and COPD — and avoid emergency hospital visits.
John learned that he had COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) after taking a breathing test called spirometry at the Toronto Western Hospital’s Asthma and Airway Centre. His respirologist, Dr. Ken Chapman, explained his diagnosis and prescribed him medication and a COPD action plan, and then sent him down the hallway to see Nikki Breede, a certified respiratory educator (CRE).
“Nikki taught me how to use my new puffer and explained what to do if I had trouble breathing,” John says. “It took me a while to get the hang of it and Nikki helped me practise until I got it right.”
“Our highly skilled Certified Respiratory Educators help my patients manage their asthma and COPD so that they don’t end up in emergency rooms.”
— Dr. Ken Chapman, respirologist
John, who had struggled to quit smoking for many years, was also able to finally quit with Nikki’s assistance. “Nikki and I worked on a tobacco quit plan together,” he says. “For the first time, I used the right dose of an NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) patch and chewed the gum to help me deal with cravings.” He has been tobacco-free for two years now.
CREs are health professionals who have taken specialized training and achieved certification to help people manage their asthma and COPD. They also learn about communications and education so that they can help people achieve their health goals.
“Our highly-skilled CREs help my patients manage their asthma and COPD so that they don’t end up in emergency rooms,” emphasizes Dr. Chapman. Dr. Chapman is also the President of the Canadian Network for Respiratory Care, the organization that certifies the CREs.