Oxygen concentrator: How to buy and use one at home
With the second wave of COVID-19 wreaking havoc on the healthcare system, it has become necessary for symptomatic patients to rely on a host of medical equipment at home. One such device is an oxygen concentrator that is used to oxygenate patients when their blood oxygen levels (SpO2) drop below 94%. Here are some tips on how to select and use a suitable concentrator.
Oxygen concentrators are ideal for patients with saturation between 90-94%
If the patient's oxygen level oscillates between 90-94%, they can benefit from a concentrator. Health experts also suggest that patients with saturation levels of about 87% can be oxygenated with the help of a concentrator at home. However, if the values dip any further, the patient must be switched to an oxygen cylinder or liquid medical oxygen supply at a hospital.
Here's what you should know before buying/renting a concentrator
Oxygen concentrators are of two types: continuous flow concentrators and pulse dose concentrators. It is advisable to choose one based on your physician's opinion. Oxygen concentrators with 3-5 LPM capacity are ideal for most patients who are under home care. The price of the concentrators is dependant on the manufacturer and can cost anywhere between Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 2 lakh.
Here's how you should set up the concentrator for use
Position the concentrator one foot away from the bed or any other obstructions. Fill in distilled or filtered water in the humidification bottle (if there's a humidifier). Next, fit the threaded cap of the bottle into the outlet of your oxygen concentrator. Attach and tighten the oxygen tubing to either the humidification bottle or oxygen adapter. Switch on the concentrator 15 minutes before use.
Once you connect the concentrator, here's what you should do
After switching on the concentrator, adjust the required LPM levels by checking with your doctor. Next, fasten the mask around the patient's mouth and nose. Ensure that there are no gaps around the edges of the mask. If the concentrator comes with a cannula, adjust it upward into the nostril with each prong of the cannula curved up into the nostrils.