What services can be included as respiratory therapy on the MDS in Section O?



The RAI manual defines Respiratory therapy (on page A-19 of Appendix A) as the following: Services that are provided by a qualified professional (defined as respiratory therapists or a respiratory nurse). “Respiratory therapy services are for the assessment, treatment, and monitoring of patients with deficiencies or abnormalities of pulmonary function.” These services could include coughing/deep breathing, nebulizer treatments, assessing breath sounds and mechanical ventilation, etc., provided by a respiratory therapist or trained respiratory nurse. The training for the respiratory nurse can be via formal nursing or specific training such as education provided by a respiratory therapist. As with other therapies coded in section O, respiratory therapy must be provided for at least 15 minutes or more in the 24 hour day to count as a day of therapy.

Answer by Janine Lehman, RN, RAC-CT, CLNC, Proactive Medical Review

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