We take safety seriously, completing thorough risk assessments and health & safety checks before any oxygen equipment is installed in a patient’s home. When used correctly oxygen is safe. Please remind patients to follow the guidelines below:
Do not smoke and do not let anyone smoke near someone using oxygen
Smoking will aggravate a patient’s condition and is dangerous when oxygen is being used.
Patients must not use E-Cigarettes whilst using oxygen. These devices contain a battery and electronic components, including a heating element to vaporise liquid. The vaporised liquid is usually glycol or glycerine based. These are electronic devices with the potential for spark if a fault develops, and they vaporise a potential fuel source, so patients must not use them whilst using their oxygen.
Keep oxygen away from naked flames
All oxygen equipment should be kept well away from naked flames such as candles of any kind, open fires and gas cookers.
Keep away from heat
Oxygen is not explosive but it will help fires to burn more fiercely. Patients must ensure that their oxygen cylinders are kept away from fires, cookers and heaters etc. Recommended distance for oxygen therapy equipment from: open fires 3m (10ft); closed fires 1.5m (5ft).
Oxygen is not to be shared
Oxygen is a medically prescribed drug, and should only be used by the person it has been prescribed for. Under no circumstances should a patient allow anyone else to use it.
Keeping all equipment clean
Only use a clean damp cloth and mild non-scratch cleaning materials to clean the equipment. Allow the equipment to dry properly before using.
Be aware of the air around
Concentrator machines take air from their surroundings and separate it to extract oxygen. If the concentrator machine is used near heaters or fires, fumes in the air may not be completely removed. Recommended distance from: open fires 3m (10ft); closed fires 1.5m (5ft).
Turn it off
Patients should make sure the oxygen supply is turned off when it isn’t being used. When oxygen is being used, always make sure the cannula or mask is not left on any soft material (for example, blankets, clothes, sofas or cushions) for any amount of time. Oxygen may be absorbed into the material and make it more flammable. Oxygen will remain in clothing for up to 20 mins after it has been turned off, precautions should still be taken when near flames etc. Remember to allow 5-10 minutes after switching a concentrator machine off to allow all the oxygen to leave the system.
Always make sure that any oxygen equipment is used in a well ventilated area, and try to keep a window or door in the room ajar when the equipment is in use.
Do not use oils or grease with oxygen equipment. Anyone handling oxygen equipment should ensure that their hands are clean.
Avoid using anything containing oil on the skin
Do not use oils or grease on any area of skin that comes into contact with the oxygen equipment. Only use water based creams, pharmacists can offer more advice on suitable products.
Never remove this small white plastic piece from the tubing and make sure that the arrow is pointing towards the patient. Firebreaks stop a fire at the earliest time, limiting the amount of toxic smoke produced and slowing the spread of the fire.
A firebreak is not included on the tubing for the portable cylinders.
Make sure tubing does not get trapped or crushed under doors/furniture as this can stop/reduce the oxygen flow.
Tubing should be kept away from feet when walking as it could cause the patient to slip or trip over. This is very important if the patient has a longer length of tubing to get to other rooms or if they are near the source (wall-tap or concentrator), as the spare tubing will coil near on the floor.
Take particular care when tubing is being used on or near stairs. When walking your patient may find it easier to drape the tubing over their shoulder.
If your patient is taken into hospital remind paramedics to leave their tubing in place as they will need it when they are discharged. If your patients tubing is missing or needs adjusting please call us.
Advise your patient to install a smoke detector. It is important that the smoke detector is regularly checked to ensure it is working and its batteries do not need replacing. We inform the Fire & Rescue Service that a patient has oxygen in their home. Patients should also tell them what equipment they have and where they store it.
The oxygen concentrator machine
Patients should never change the flow rate unless specifically told to do so and shown how to by our Healthcare Technician. They should:
- Always make sure the concentrator machine is kept upright at all times.
- Make sure the concentrator machine is plugged into the mains, do not use an extension lead.
- Never open or remove the concentrator machine cover.
Baywater Healthcare will service the oxygen concentrator machine every six months. If there is a problem with the oxygen concentrator machine the patient should use their back up cylinder and call our Healthcare Helpline.
It is essential that the back up cylinder is used in the event of a concentrator machine failure or power cut.
Oxygen cylinder safety
If cylinders are used in the home, the patient should make sure they are secure and cannot be knocked over or fall on anyone.
If a portable cylinder is being carried in a wheelchair, scooter or pushchair, the patient should make sure that it is safely secured and balanced.
This type of oxygen is not provided to every patient because it is not always suitable and it is only available after assessment. Please remind the oxygen patient to:
- Always keep the portable unit in an upright position – if it falls over, simply stand the unit up again.
- Wearing gloves to help prevent inadvertently touching frosted connectors and keeping your face and eyes away from the connections or wearing suitable eye protection when filling your portable units are sensible precaution.
- Never carry the portable unit under any clothing.
- Never let anyone touch the frosted connectors on the portable unit or the large dewar, this could cause a skin burn as the liquid oxygen is frozen to -183Oc.
- Never move the large dewar, if you would like it in another place please contact us to arrange.
- If the large dewar falls over and a stream of liquid oxygen spills out, open all the doors and windows, leave the area and call our Healthcare Helpline.
Back up cylinders
Back up cylinders are provided along with an oxygen concentrator in case of a power cut or machine failure. It is essential that the patient only uses the back up cylinder in the event of a concentrator machine failure or power cut.
The back up cylinder should be located where it can easily be reached should it be needed.