Perspective Paper: Assessing Air Quality as Part of a Physical Therapy Plan of Care
Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journal
Purpose: The purposes of this clinical perspective paper are (1) to expand physical therapists’ awareness to the topic of air quality as a health priority when providing professional services; and (2) to provide templates for screening the indoor clinical environments and patient profiles to avert respiratory exacerbations, especially in persons with asthma. Summary of Key Points: The location where a physical therapist practices determines the air quality indices to which a person is exposed. Poor indoor air quality can expose a person to even greater compromise of respiration (ie, Sick Building Syndrome) than outdoor air quality secondary to an array of factors like building materials, the ventilation exchange rate of an enclosed space, chemicals used in cleaning, and humidity. Statement of Conclusions: Extrinsic (ie, environmental) and intrinsic (eg, pre-disposition to airway hypersensitivity) factors must be accounted for by physical therapists to safeguard their patients and themselves from experiencing respiratory compromise and/or distress as a result of a treatment session or their place of employment. Recommendations: Efforts to screen indoor environments for potential triggers and patient risk profiles for abnormal airway reactivity should routinely be undertaken. Individualized Action Plans should be prospectively prepared and readied for implementation when warranted.