Oxygen concentrators were introduced in the mid 1970s and have become a convenient, reliable source of supplemental oxygen. The air we breathe contains approximately 21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen, and 1% other gases. In a concentrator, room air passes through a regenerative adsorbent material called a molecular sieve. This material separates the oxygen from the nitrogen and other gases. The result is a constant supply of oxygen for patient use.
There are several different models and sizes of oxygen concentrators available on the market today. However, all models have the same basic parts: a power switch to turn the unit on and off, a flow selector that regulates the amount of oxygen the patient receives, an alarm system that alerts the patient if the power is interrupted and, if prescribed, a humidifier unit that allows the oxygen to be moisturized so it will not dry out to the patient's nose, mouth and throat.
The oxygen is delivered to the patient through a nasal cannula or face mask. The tubing on the cannula or mask is attached to the outlet on the humidifier unit. Sometimes, an extra length of tubing may be attached between the concentrator and the nasal cannula or face mask. This will allow the patient to move about at a farther distance from the concentrator.
It is very important that the patient use the oxygen dosage prescribed by their physician. Using too much oxygen or too little can have harmful effects.
Care of Concentrator
Cleaning and disinfecting your equipment is simple, yet very important. Proper care prevents infection. Cleaning should be done in a dust and smoke free area away from open windows.
Following are instructions for cleaning your equipment:
- Remove the filter and wash in warm water with a non lotion detergent. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry with a clean towel.
- Place filter back on concentrator.
Care of Humidifer Bottle
If you are using a humidifer bottle with your oxygen concentrator, you will need to check the water in the bottle often. ONLY USE DISTILLED WATER IN THE HUMIDIFIER BOTTLE. You should use your back-up oxygen whever filling or cleaning the humidifier.
Following are instructions for cleaning your the humidifier:
- Once a day you will need to remove the humidifier from the concentrator and discard any remaining water.
- Rinse the bottle under tap water then refill bottle with distilled water.Screw the lid on tight making sure you do not cross thread it. NOTE: Cross-threading the lid on the humidifier bottle will result in a loss of oxygen.
- Attach bottle back on the concentrator.
- Your humidifier must be disinfected every third day using either a vinegar/water solution or a disinfectant solution that Medox Healthcare suggests. Soak for a minimum of 30 minutes then rinse and let air dry.
The patient should feel completely confident in using the home oxygen system prescribed by their physician. Medox Healthcare is responsible for delivering the concentrator to the patient's home and provide the patient with easy, step-by-step instructions on how to operate and care for the concentrator. The patient will also be given our 24 hour number in the case of an emergency.