Every cell in our bodies needs oxygen to live. When you breathe in, oxygen goes into your lungs and gets transported in the bloodstream to all the parts of your body. When your cells use up the oxygen, they produce carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide is carried back to the lungs through the bloodstream and released when you breathe out.
If your parent has a medical problem with their heart or lungs, they may have trouble taking in enough oxygen to fuel their body. They may also have trouble ridding their body of carbon dioxide.
Using oxygen is an effective and convenient way for your parent to manage medical challenges while living at home. Here are some tips to assist your parent with their home oxygen therapy.
Oxygen therapy is a medical treatment where you breathe in extra (supplemental) oxygen to boost the oxygen levels in your blood. It doesn’t cure heart or lung disease, but it can make it possible to live better with these illnesses.
Doctors will likely prescribe home oxygen if your parent has a medical condition that causes them not to have enough oxygen in their bloodstream. Some common medical conditions that might require home oxygen therapy include:
Your parent may be on oxygen for a short time while recovering from an illness or as ongoing therapy. Some ways that people use oxygen therapy at home could include:
Your parent’s doctor will let your parent know how often they should be using their oxygen and for how long.
There are many types of devices available for home oxygen use. Your parent’s oxygen device will depend on their medical needs, lifestyle, oxygen needs, and home environment. Oxygen therapy setups involve a source of oxygen and a delivery method.
This machine weighs about 50 pounds and has a motor powered by electricity and sometimes batteries. It usually has wheels so that your parent can move around the house. Your parent will need a backup source of oxygen if the power goes out.
This is a smaller version of the machine mentioned above. It weighs 3-20 pounds, so it’s ideal for running errands or traveling to appointments. Some models can even plug into your car.
These tanks are larger and can weigh 100 pounds or more. They aren’t mobile, but the benefit is that they hold a lot of oxygen. One tank can last several weeks, depending on how much oxygen your parent uses.
These types of tanks are becoming less common, but they are still used. They are heavy and can be difficult to move around. Tanks last a few days, depending on usage.
Your parent will also need a way to breathe in the oxygen. The most common options include:
It can be a little scary when your loved one starts home oxygen therapy. There can be a lot of benefits for your senior parent, though.
Home oxygen therapy lets your senior parent:
Using oxygen might require a little adaptation to their routines, but overall it will help your parent to keep life normal for longer.
The only major risk to home oxygen therapy is the risk of fire. The oxygen itself doesn’t combust, but an oxygen-rich environment can worsen any spark or fire.
Your parent’s healthcare provider might be hesitant to prescribe home oxygen therapy if they are still actively smoking due to the danger of fire.
Home oxygen therapy is relatively safe and easy to use. Here are some tips to help your parent make it safer, easier, and more convenient.
Parentis Health is here to assist your senior parent in managing home oxygen therapy. We offer services including:
Contact us today to discuss how we can help your senior parent maintain their health and independence.