Your doctor has said you should start oxygen therapy, but what does that mean? Once you’re on oxygen, you’ll likely find it’s easier to function from day to day. After all, every organ in your body needs oxygen to work properly. Your damaged lungs can’t deliver adequate amounts of this fuel, and that’s where supplementary oxygen comes in.
If your doctor writes you an oxygen therapy prescription, here’s what it will include, according to the National Home Oxygen Patients Association.
- Specifics regarding the duration of oxygen use and flow, since these are the basis of an oxygen therapy prescription
- Defined delivery device, such as a nasal cannula or oxygen mask
- Defined oxygen source, such as an oxygen concentrator, liquid oxygen or compressed oxygen tank
- Information necessary for health insurance and Medicare coverage to make the financial transition easy for you
- Documentation to support medical guidelines, which is a requirement to receive Medicare and other insurance coverage for your oxygen therapy
- Information for your oxygen provider, such as which equipment and oxygen services need to be delivered to your home
According to NHOPA, It’s likely that your oxygen prescription is one you'll maintain for life. As with any prescription, it’s vital that you follow the instructions to get the greatest benefit from oxygen therapy. After all, shortness of breath and other symptoms are not the only indicators your body is low on oxygen, so you can't rely on signs you can see to decide when to use oxygen. Follow your prescription, even if you feel well.
The goal of receiving supplementary oxygen is to keep your levels normal 24 hours a day. That means your doctor may alter your prescription as your body’s needs change over time. Expect your doctor to check your oxygen saturation periodically to ensure you're receiving the right amount. If at any time you have any questions about your specific prescription, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for clarification.
For more information about what it means to be on oxygen therapy, download the free guide, “COPD 101” from DoMoreWithOxygen.com.