Respiratory Therapy


Johnson County  Hospital has been assisting people for many years with the treatment  and testing  for a condition called Sleep Apnea.  Sleep apnea is a serious  disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep.  People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep,  hundreds of times.  This means the brain—and the rest of the body—may not get enough oxygen.   4 % to 5% of the population have sleep apnea.    

There are two types of sleep apnea: 

     OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA (OSA):   The more common of the two forms of apnea, it is caused by blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses down.

     CENTRAL SLEEP APNEA:   Unlike OSA, the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal   the lungs to breathe, due to instability in the respiratory control center.

Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age, even children.  Your doctor can perform  a physical and determine if you may suffer from sleep apnea.  An overnight sleep study at JCH will be scheduled by Respiratory Therapy.  JCH has a room designed to resemble a bedroom, we want you to be able to relax and feel at home.  A sleep tech from Rural Sleep Solutions will perform the study at JCH. A pulmonologist will read  your study and recommend treatment.    Respiratory Therapy  will assist you with your CPAP set up.                                                                         



An EEG, or electroencephalogram, is a test that can help diagnose epilepsy.  During an EEG, the electrical signals of the brain are recorded.  This electrical activity is detected by electrodes, or sensors, placed on the patient’s scalp and transmitted to a machine that records the activity.  This procedure is performed by an  EEG tech.  During the test, you will lie down on the bed. You will  be asked to relax and lie first with your eyes open,  then later with them closed.  You may be asked to breathe  deeply  and rapidly—both of these activities may produce changes in the brain-wave patterns.   A neurologist will examine the EEG recording for abnormalities in the brain-wave pattern, which may reflect diseases of the nervous system.



If you want to quit we are ready to help.  RT can provide guidance and education to assist you in achieving a positive outcome.  Call RT for written material or just drop in for one on one encouragement.



JCH has portable devices  that are about the size of a cell phone  that are used to continuously  monitor the electrical activity  of the heart for 24 hours up to 30 days.  JCH offers this as an outpatient service and all results are interpreted by a cardiologist of your choice.



Pulmonary functions tests (PFTs) are a group of tests that measure how well a person’s lungs are working and can help determine disease progression by tracking changes in lung function over time.

A complete  PFT  series includes:     

  • Spirometry—–measures the amount and speed of air flow
  • Plethysmography—-or Helium dilution- measures how much air is in the lungs.
  • Diffusion tests and arterial blood gases—measure how well the lungs are able to exchange gases with the blood.

Not every test is included  every time PFT’S are done.  Spirometry , which is the easiest test to do is done most often. The PFT results are read and interpreted  by  Dr. Ellen Miller, pulmonologist.



Dr. Ellen Miller, a pulmonologist from Lincoln, provides clinic services twice per month .  Dr  Miller consults with patients at JCH regarding lung diseases and conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia emphysema and cancer.  Dr Miller evaluates and diagnoses breathing problems and evaluates sleep apnea.   


The Respiratory Therapy staff at JCH wants to keep everyone “Breathing Easy”.  If you would like more information about our Respiratory Therapy Dept please  contact:

Janice Gerdes, CRTT

Respiratory Therapy Supervisor



Janice Gerdes, CRTT

Janice Gerdes, CRTT

Respiratory Therapist

Janice is the Respiratory Therapist at JCH. She grew up in Johnson, NE, graduated from Midland Lutheran College, and received her respiratory training from Immanuel School of Respiratory Therapy in Omaha, NE. Janice has been with JCH for greater than 30 years.  She has seen many changes over her time here.  “In today’s world, it is a challenge to keep up to date on new equipment and therapies, but it still comes down to a familiar face helping patients breathe easier.”