Tips for Living at Home on Supplemental Oxygen

If you have struggled to maintain oxygen saturation for any reason, your doctor may send you home with supplemental oxygen. This can help you get the oxygen you need to maintain health and feel your best, but adapting to having an oxygen tank around all of the time is not always easy. Here are a few tips to help you.

Ask for family member support.

As you get used to using oxygen, there may be times when you need someone to help you move your tank, re-orient yourself on a chair or sofa, and so forth. If your family members know how to help you, they will be better able to jump in and do what you need them to do. So, talk to your family members about your oxygen needs before you go home or shortly after. If you have a meeting or appointment with your doctor about your oxygen, ask any family members who are living with you to attend so they can get the same information about the oxygen that you do.

Stock up on extra cannulas.

The cannula is the tube that directly stretches under your nose to deliver the oxygen. This tube will need to be replaced often in order to keep things sanitary. It's a good idea to stock up on spare cannulas from the get-go so you always have them on hand. Your doctor will tell you how often to change your cannula; it will depend on the model of oxygen tank you have and also on your personal health.

Have either a generator or portable oxygen tank on-hand. 

Most supplemental oxygen tanks for home use are electric. So, if there is a power outage, you will need an alternative way to get your oxygen. If you have a generator at home, then you're set. Just make sure your generator is hooked up to an outlet you can use for your oxygen supply. If you don't have a generator, you might instead want to have a portable oxygen tank on the ready. This can give you a few hours of oxygen when the power goes out.

Living on supplemental oxygen can take some adjustment, but when you need it, this can be life-changing. Keep the tips above in mind as you navigate the transition, and don't hesitate to ask your doctor or another medical practitioner if you find yourself in need of more help.