Respiratory Physiotherapy Team

Service contact information

Service detail

Critical care and outreach physiotherapy combined service

The Respiratory Physiotherapy Team covers intensive care and the high dependency unit (combined - 20-bed unit), as well as providing an outreach respiratory service on the acute wards for patients who have ongoing respiratory needs or a tracheostomy (breathing tube). The team ensures all patients are seen for daily respiratory chest treatments and rehabilitation as required.


Physiotherapists work to help remove secretions from a patient’s chest and help ensure the lungs remain clear, reducing the risk of infection whilst a patient is on a ventilator. Whilst a patient is sedated, the Physiotherapy Team will move their arms and legs to assess for changes in joint stiffness and tone and help maintain range of movement. Once a patient is awake, they are able to start a rehabilitation programme to allow the muscles to become stronger and promote independence once more. Physiotherapists will identify respiratory and physical problems and set regular goals for patients to optimise independence.

Physiotherapists also help patients wean off ventilators and aim to remove tracheostomies once a patient is ready. There is a daily MDT tracheostomy ward round on ITU to explore tracheostomy weaning, optimise secretion management. Speech and language therapists assess swallow and communication. Therapists identify early on if a patient has ongoing multidisciplinary rehabilitation needs and referral to an appropriate rehabilitation destination, for example the Cheshire and Merseyside Rehabilitation Network.


Once a patient is ready for discharge to the ward, if they still have ongoing respiratory/secretion clearance needs the respiratory team with continue with their chest and rehabilitation care to help with this transition and continuity of care.

We work closely with outreach nurses (SMART Team) and Speech and Language Therapists to continue daily tracheostomy ward rounds for ongoing tracheostomy weaning and chest clearance on the acute wards and Lipton Ward (hyper-acute rehabilitation). We also provide respiratory care for any patient that requires this across all wards at The Walton Centre.

The respiratory physiotherapy team also attends the weekly ITU MDT meetings to discuss patients with complex ventilator/tracheostomy weaning and rehabilitation needs, Lipton MDT and neurovascular MDT.

We provide a respiratory service weekdays 8am - 8pm, and at weekends/bank holidays 8am - 4pm.

Getting here

The Respiratory Team are located within the acute therapies department on the first floor of the main building and also on Horsley HDU on the ground floor of the main building.

The Walton Centre - Main Hospital Building

The Walton Centre Main Building

This building hosts many of our in-patient services, including wards and theatres, and some outpatients services.


Lower Lane, Liverpool, L9 7LJ

Directions and map

The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust is not responsible for third-party sites or content.

Referral information

In critical care there is blanket referral system for respiratory/physiotherapy.

Across all the other wards patients can be referred via the bleep system by the SMART team and doctors. All tracheostomy patients will be seen by the Respiratory Team.

Page last updated: 24 June 2021