Here's how you can help keep your oxygen patients out of the hospital

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05/05/2010

I had an interesting talk recently with Lou Kaufman, vice president of patient/clinical services for Roberts Home Medical, a two-time HME Excellence Award winner in the home respiratory category. We were talking about the importance of titrating home oxygen patients to make sure their conserving devices deliver the appropriate amount of oxygen.

Amazingly, I'm told, even in this day and age, some providers still believe that a two, or three or whatever setting on one conserver equals the same setting on a different brand conserver. Some even think that's the case with concentrators and conservers.

Not so, and providers who don't titrate their oxygen patients risk having them desaturate and end up back in the hospital. Given that, I asked Kaufman how Roberts sets up a patient on oxygen. Here's what he said:

"We follow clinical practice guidelines. We get an order for a specific continuous flow--sometimes it is different with exertion--and we get an order from the physician to titrate the conserving device. The therapist meets with the patient and evaluates their oxygen saturation at rest and with exertion on the prescribed continuous flow. He then puts them on a conserver at rest and exertion. He looks at the oxygen saturation, not the setting on the device, and comes up with the necessary setting.

"Two years ago, we looked at 100 different patients and about 75% ended up with the same setting on the conserver as they had with continuous flow; 25% had a different setting, either higher or lower at rest and exertion. That's why we titrate."

For more on this issue, check out this story that ran in the May issue of HME News.

Mike Moran

Comments

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