Ambulatory Oxygen with Portable Oxygen Concentrators for Patients with COPD
What is Ambulatory Oxygen?
Patients with COPD who have regular difficulty in breathing and a low level of oxygen in their blood, fulfill all the criteria for long-term oxygen therapy and get prescribed supplemental oxygen for home use. These units are usually stationary and the patient uses them for up to 15 hours as per the doctor’s prescription.
These same patients often find themselves limited to their homes because once they try to go out, they regress to their untreated state. Many of these even want to increase their ability to do work manually. These patients need oxygen that they can take outside with them to help them breathe and keep a stable blood oxygen level. This oxygen prescription is called ambulatory oxygen.
Ambulatory oxygen can be provided through oxygen tanks or oxygen concentrators of portable variety. The following blog will expand on the different things to consider when prescribing ambulatory oxygen.
Options for Providing Ambulatory Oxygen
There are two main methods of oxygen delivery when it comes to ambulatory oxygen therapy.
- Oxygen Tank: An oxygen tank is a portable oxygen device that a patient can carry with them anywhere. The biggest issues with this equipment are that it is heavy and the oxygen it carries is limited. This option of oxygen delivery is however reliable for delivering pure oxygen to the patient.
- Portable Oxygen Concentrator: The option of a portable oxygen concentrator should be available to everyone if one wants to increase patient retention of the treatment option. The device is small in size and lightweight. Depending on the flow rate of oxygen, it can run for up to 3+ hours once charged. The best thing about these oxygen-producing devices is that they do not need to be refilled with oxygen. These devices give the patient up to 96% pure oxygen.
Hindrance to Ambulatory Oxygen Treatment
Several kinds of research have been done to find out why this treatment option is not used commonly. Research has revealed the following issues that stop ambulatory oxygen therapy.
- Inability to remember the indications for use: There are patients out there who do not know when to use ambulatory oxygen in their daily routine. Patients usually find it hard to remember medical information. The best thing a doctor can do for them is to make sure they have some type of chart to guide them.
- Feeling embarrassed about oxygen need: A lot of patients think that they will attract unnecessary and unfavorable attention from the crowd if they were to start using their oxygen cylinder.
- Need for help: There are times when people are simply unable to work with their heavy oxygen equipment alone. They need someone to hook them to the device or at times to carry the oxygen device for them.
- Improper prescription: The goal of ambulatory oxygen therapy is that the patient will have an increase in their mobility following the prescription. The physician typically anticipates a general increase in the patient’s life quality. However, often this treatment option is given to those patients who already do not move. These patients cannot benefit from using a portable oxygen device.
- Stress about oxygen cylinder consumption: Humans instinctually want to look out for a rainy day. Similarly, patients are always trying to save up the oxygen in their tanks for times when they would need oxygen more. They don’t check the level of oxygen inside the oxygen tank, they just simply stop using it.
What can Help With Ambulatory Oxygen Therapy Treatment Retention?
There are 3 main things that the hindrances have pointed out as the clear solution to the patient’s use of ambulatory oxygen during clear need.
- Providing Proper Information to the Patient: Patients are simply clueless about what to do with this option of care. Yes, the physicians make it a point to map out how the oxygen is going to help. Most of the patients are already on LTOT. They however do not know when to take this oxygen therapy. Patients simply know that they can use a portable oxygen concentrator to help them breathe outside.
It is up to the physician to inform them that they need to watch out for their symptoms for warning of the oxygen decline. Patients need to remember that this treatment is prescribed to make them able enough to easily move outside without feeling excessive exertion.
- Properly assessing the patients before prescribing ambulatory oxygen therapy: Often patients are not good candidates for this treatment option. When physicians prescribe this treatment to every person who is on LTOT, they waste medical technology on patients who won’t use it. Healthcare cost burden also increases on the patient as a result.
- Introducing good options for ambulatory oxygen delivery: Another recurring issue that we have seen in the different research is that patients simply do not know their options for oxygen generator devices. Some of the patients are unable to lug around the oxygen cylinders and they need to get a portable oxygen concentrator for personal use. However, the patients are simply unaware. The market for oxygen concentrators is far and wide. Help your patients find out about oxygen concentrators that are portable, great quality, and affordable for them; give them options. Inform patients that there are more oxygen concentrator device options than generic ones.
Why Portable Oxygen Concentrators are Great for Ambulatory Oxygen
The treatment is given in the hopes that it will improve the oxygen level in the arterial blood while movement is taking place. Typically the patient would need to carry the oxygen device whenever they walk outside. The small size and light weight of the portable oxygen concentrator make them the best option for ambulatory oxygen administration.
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