Chapter 4: Administering meds
Assisting with oxygen therapy
With certain respiratory diseases such as advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), oxygen may be prescribed for the person. The level of oxygen is prescribed by a trained specialist who looks at the patient’s history and current condition and has the knowledge to determine the correct oxygen level.
Oxygen is a commonly used medication and needs to be prescribed and set up by healthcare professionals. When helping a person with their oxygen, follow the steps listed below. Ask the person’s healthcare provider if you need to know or do anything else before applying the oxygen therapy. Click the arrows to view the steps.
1. Wash your hands before and after providing care.
2. Place the prongs in the person’s nostrils, keeping each side of the tubing under the person’s ears and then tightening under the chin.
3. Adjust where the nasal prongs rest as well as under the chin and behind the ears ensuring it isn’t rubbing or too tight.
4. Make sure the tubing isn’t kinked or hooked on anything.
5. Turn the knob on the flow metre until the little ball hovers at the flow rate that was ordered.
6. Use your medication tracking journal to write down the medication, time, and amount given.
Do not allow anyone to smoke or to have a flame, such as a candle, in the house when using the oxygen. Using oxygen creates a dangerous fire hazard.
Watch the video for a demonstration and for more tips on applying oxygen.
Words of wisdom
Using oxygen can be drying for the person who is ill, so be sure to use good mouth care and apply a water-based moisturizer to the lips and nostrils often. To reduce rubbing and skin irritation, try wrapping the tubing in gauze before placing it over the ears.