Oxygen Tanks vs POCs:
There is a major difference between the two oxygen options; an oxygen tank is often the device initially administered at the doctor’s office when a breathing condition is uncovered, this method was the original oxygen distribution method for years. You as the caregiver deserve to know that this does not have to be the permanent reality, there are much better options. For some, tanks serve the purpose just fine. But for many families/friends/users, tanks become a burden and make the user almost home bound. They’re heavy, they’re cumbersome, and they need to eventually be replaced. Those individuals that have to deal with oxygen tanks often find that their lives begin to change as a result. Portable oxygen concentrators can and will make a difference for the better, they give individuals their freedom back. Portable oxygen concentrators are often lighter and smaller than tanks, making it easier to get around and maintain an active lifestyle As a caregiver it is important to help your patients maintain a quality of life they are accustomed to. An oxygen concentrator provides all the oxygen that your patient needs, in a package that makes living much easier. POC’s give people the opportunity to maintain a life they want and caregivers peace of mind their patients have the best oxygen equipment on the market.
How do you go about getting a new portable oxygen concentrator (POC):
Step 1: You can buy or rent a POC. You will need to check your patient’s eligibility with Medicare or the Insurance Company. We recommend looking at Inogen or SimplyGo. Step 2: If your patient is eligible, the POC company will work directly with the family’s doctor to see if the POC is a great fit (remember, the patient will need to be prescribed oxygen use from their doctor). Step 3: The the POC and a backup oxygen supply arrive in the mail (most likely UPS or USPS) once the unit is purchased and the RX is received. Step 4: Make sure patient’s oxygen levels are checked by you (the caregiver), nurses or respiratory therapists to make sure the POC is meeting your patients needs, as defined by his/her doctor.
How do POC’s work for my patient?
POC’s take in air dynamically and then deliver it to the user in its purified state. As a result, oxygen is in unlimited supply. A battery powers this process, so where before you were replacing tanks, now you’re simply recharging the battery much like you would a cell phone (most POCs offer a single battery. I believe Inogen now offers a double battery). Every patient and use case will be different, but it is usually best to have multiple batteries on hand. That way, there’s always a reserve store of power, and rotating several batteries tends to better preserve the life of each of them. The only other piece of maintenance has to do with the nasal cannulas and tubings, both of which will need to be replaced every few weeks for sanitary purposes. Portable oxygen sounds like an on-the-go process, and it is. But the truth is that portable oxygen concentrators are clinically validated for 24/7 use (Inogen and Simply Go). POC’s oxygen delivery changes dynamically during times of rest as well as times of sleep. If your patient needs oxygen while sleeping it is best to also look at stationary oxygen concentrators. You get the portability of the on-the-go machine, but with none of the hassle of changing machines once it’s time to turn in. That’s more free time and less stress for everyone, we all know as caregivers, you need less stress and more time.
POC’s are the future, but not the complete package, in terms of taking care of one’s breathing. These are some of the other areas where you can help your patients improve his/her breathing: Breathing Techniques – Encourage your patients to practice breathing techniques that have been clinically proven to improve breathing for patients with COPD or other conditions. These techniques include pursed-lip breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, and meditation. Diet – Everyone knows that certain foods improve health, while other ones are detrimental to health. But diet actually has a profound impact on breathing. Foods rich in antioxidants are better for the diaphragm because they are unlikely to induce gas and pressure. Also, protein-rich foods like legumes, nuts, fish, and poultry are high in energy, which as you already know is at a premium when dealing with a breathing condition. Exercise – Regular exercise makes anyone feel better, it is important to keep an active lifestyle. For people with COPD, exercise improves circulation and helps the body utilize oxygen more efficiently. Consistent exercise also reduces shortness of breath and other common COPD symptoms. This is an activity that you can do with your patients , where you can experience the positive health effects as well!
POC’s make traveling for you patients a option once again. One of the biggest benefits of switching to a POC is that traveling becomes easier. Chances are, this affects you as the caregiver, as well as many other people who can stay involved in your patient’s life (patients can now travel to see their grandkids with ease). Portable oxygen concentrators are small and light enough to carry onto any form of transportation (Inogen and SimplyGo are FAA approved). Additionally, DC adaptors are available to charge the concentrator in the car. Portable oxygen concentrators are small enough where they fit nicely with a patient in his/her seat on board a plane, train, or bus as well. With better breathing comes a renewed sense of adventure and a stronger connection with the people and places your patients care about around the country.
It is ultimately your patients choose to whether they want to use oxygen tanks or a portable oxygen concentrator. In our option the choose is simply, portable oxygen concentrators (POC’s) give patients the mobility and quality of life back they all deserve.