Home Oxygen Therapy
Oxygen therapy is usually delivered as a gas via an oxygen source such as an oxygen concentrator, cylinder, liquid reservoir or portable oxygen concentrator (POC). The oxygen is usually breathed through a nasal cannula. A nasal cannula is a two-pronged device inserted in the nostrils and is connected to the oxygen source.
Once your physician has determined that you should receive oxygen therapy, you will be tested to find the right amount of oxygen for your needs. Oxygen therapy is usually prescribed in Liters Per Minute (LPM) and helps to increase the level of oxygen in the blood.
An oxygen concentrator is a device providing oxygen therapy to a patient at higher concentrations than available in ambient (room) air. Concentrators are used as a safer, less expensive, and more convenient alternative to tanks of compressed oxygen.
An oxygen concentrator plugs in to the wall electrical outlet. The concentrator takes room air and passes it through the filtering system in the machine and converts it to more pure oxygen. In other words, it circulates the room air through and changes it from regular room air (around 21% oxygen) to around 95% oxygen. These machines can be run 24 hours per day, seven days a week, 365 days per year.
You may be required to clean one of the filters of your concentrator on a weekly basis. Sleep Solutions Home Medical will show you how to perform this task.
The machine has a small “port” to which the patient attaches a “nasal cannula” or oxygen tubing. The oxygen flows from the machine to the patient at the prescribed liter flow. It is important that the patient not tamper with the prescribed flow rate because increasing the flow rate could actually be harmful to the patient. (Some patient’s condition can actually be made much worse by increasing the flow rate.)
Since the air coming out of the oxygen concentrator is the same temperature as room air, some patients feel that it is not as effective as oxygen coming out of the a tank. Rest assured that the effectiveness is virtually the same. In some cases a humidifier bottle is placed on the oxygen concentrator to help with humidification of the air. Sometimes this helps with the comfort level of the patient.
Often, people that use oxygen concentrators will need service on the device. During these service visits, we will ensure that your oxygen concentrator is working to the best of its ability.