Home Oxygen Therapy for Babies: Everything Parents Need to Know
When a baby struggles to breathe, it is a cause for concern for any parent. But in some cases, such as in bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), congenital heart disease, and other lung conditions, home oxygen therapy can make a huge difference in a baby’s quality of life. It can reduce breathlessness and irritability, improve sleep, and promote growth. If you have just received a prescription for home oxygen therapy for your baby, this article will guide you through everything you need to know to ensure a safe and effective therapy.
Why does my baby need home oxygen?
When babies are unable to get enough oxygen on their own, they need supplemental oxygen therapy. Oxygen therapy may be prescribed for a variety of medical conditions, including BPD, pulmonary hypoplasia, pulmonary hypertension, and congenital heart disease. Oxygen therapy can also be used for palliative care to alleviate symptoms.
What equipment do I need for home oxygen therapy?
There are two types of oxygen delivery systems available for home use: oxygen cylinders and oxygen concentrators. Oxygen cylinders are made of compressed oxygen and are used for patients who don’t need a constant supply of oxygen. Oxygen concentrators are electrically powered machines that extract oxygen from the air and deliver it to your baby at high concentrations. They are commonly used for patients who require continuous oxygen support.
If you opt for an oxygen concentrator, the supplier will also provide you with a regulator, a flow meter kit, a carry bag, and/or a trolley. You will also receive nasal prongs and tapes to secure the tubing in place.
How much does home oxygen therapy cost?
In most cases, supplemental oxygen therapy is provided at no cost to parents. The hospital funds the oxygen your baby needs for the first month after discharge. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Care Managers will help you with your application.
How to get started with home oxygen therapy?
Before your baby is discharged from the hospital, the treating team will determine how much oxygen they require. They will talk to you about the equipment your baby will need, and answer any questions you have about managing oxygen therapy at home.
The oxygen supply company will contact you to arrange the delivery of the equipment to your home. You (or someone who can act on your behalf) will need to be at home when it is delivered. This is so that the oxygen supply company can set up the equipment and show you how to use it. They will also give you safety information and a list of who to call if you have any concerns with the oxygen equipment.
When your baby is ready for discharge, you will be able to ‘room in’ with your baby in one of our parent rooms in the NICU. This is so you can gain confidence using your baby’s oxygen therapy before going home. When it’s time for your baby to be discharged from the hospital, you will need to bring the portable oxygen cylinder supplied by the oxygen supply company for your baby to use for the trip home.
Using Oxygen Safely at Home
Oxygen is safe to use as long as it is used correctly. Oxygen will not explode, but it does support combustion (burning), which means that any material already burning will burn much faster and hotter in an oxygen-enriched atmosphere. It is very important to follow all safety precautions explained to you by your oxygen supply company so that you and your family are safe when your baby is on oxygen therapy at home.
Always keep the oxygen supply away from sources of heat, such as heaters, ovens, and fireplaces. Do not smoke or allow anyone else to smoke in the room where your baby is using oxygen therapy. Smoking can ignite the oxygen and cause a fire.
Some Tips to Help You Use Oxygen Safely at Home
- When it comes to caring for your baby while they are on oxygen therapy, there are a few things to keep in mind. Make sure that your baby’s nose is clean and free from mucus before putting on the nasal prongs. If your baby develops a fever, cough, or increased difficulty breathing, contact your healthcare provider right away. These may be signs of a respiratory infection that needs medical attention.
- In addition to these safety precautions, it’s important to be aware of the signs that your baby may need more oxygen. These signs can include increased breathing rate, decreased oxygen saturation levels, and increased irritability or restlessness. If you notice any of these signs, contact your healthcare provider right away.
Summing It All Up
In conclusion, home oxygen therapy can make a significant difference in the health and well-being of babies who need it. While it may seem overwhelming at first, with the right information and support, parents can feel confident in managing their baby’s oxygen therapy at home. By following the safety precautions and monitoring their baby’s oxygen levels closely, parents can help ensure that their baby is getting the oxygen they need to thrive.
As for the availability of good-quality oxygen devices, you can always check Sanai Health. We have been producing high-quality oxygen concentrators for upwards of 20 years now. Our products are not only used in hospital settings, they are user-friendly enough to be used at home.