Hospital and Telephone Triage

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Respiration types and rates

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3 min 44 sec
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Assessing Respiration: Importance and Techniques

Understanding Respiration Rate

The respiration rate indicates the efficiency of breathing and is crucial for assessing overall health.

Normal Range:

  • Adults: 12 to 20 breaths per minute


  • Observing the effort exerted by the patient during breathing.
  • Changes in breathing patterns can indicate underlying health issues.

Assessment Techniques

Assessing respiration involves observing breathing patterns and physical indicators.


  • Check for equal rise and fall of the chest.
  • Assess the patient's ability to speak and form sentences.
  • Observe for signs of gasping or labored breathing.

Positional Clues:

Patients may adopt specific positions to aid breathing, such as the tripoding stance.

Use of Tools:

Stethoscopes can provide additional insight into lung function and detect abnormalities.


  • Place the diaphragm of the stethoscope on the patient's skin.
  • Listen at various locations on the chest, comparing breath sounds on both sides.
  • Focus areas include the midclavicular line, back, and axilla.


  • Listening through clothing may reduce sound transmission.
  • Patients should continue normal breathing during examination.
  • Assessment aims to ensure equal lung function and detect abnormal breath sounds.