The body cannot store oxygen. It needs to be given when it is at low levels due to the side effects these levels can cause. For patients such as those who suffer from COPD, they need frequent oxygen. This need is known as long term oxygen therapy, and patients will need some type of device to help with this.
There are several kinds of oxygen devices they can use. These are:
- metal cylinders or tanks
- liquid systems
- portable oxygen concentrators
- home oxygen concentrators
For some patients, they are faced with difficulties in getting around due to their use of cumbersome oxygen tanks or cylinders. These prevent them reaching their maximum quality of life, being able to perform daily tasks, and traveling about if they want to visit family and friends. A portable oxygen concentrator (POC) provides a wide range of benefits for these patients.
The Physician Outlook
The oxygen therapy patient will be under the care of a pulmonologist or other respiratory health professional. However, not all of these doctors are aware of the benefits of POCs. Many of them will still prescribe liquid oxygen or oxygen tanks. These bring a number of issues, including safety hazards even if they're handled carefully.
What Patients Should Do
If patients are considering a portable oxygen concentrator, they should first do their homework. They should:
- research the various models that are currently available.
- decide what model is appropriate for their lifestyle.
- find a model that meets their oxygen requirements.
For patients who want to use a POC for their treatment, their doctor is naturally their second port of call. Armed with their research, what they need to establish with their physician is their interest in using a POC and the fact that they would like to purchase one in the near future.
Spell Out the Benefits of a Portable Oxygen Concentrator
When meeting with their specialist, the patient should bring up the benefits of a portable oxygen concentrator. They can tell them how much easier traveling about would be as the device is battery powered with rechargeable batteries. These units are also FAA-approved so the patient can travel by plane, greatly enhancing their lifestyles since they can visit family and friends as well as see places they might have otherwise not been able to when on the other forms of oxygen therapy.
In addition to being extremely portable due to their low weights, POCs are good looking devices, far from the oxygen tanks previously used. There is also no need to bring extra tanks because of the rechargeable functionality.
Patients should let their physicians know that POCs are less dangerous than tanks. These can prove to be safety hazards, even if they're handled very carefully. Tanks have the potential to leak, and something as minor as static electricity is large enough to create a spark to cause an explosion if enough oxygen is present. After all, accidents can and do occur, so why not be safe than sorry?