Tuesday, April 9, 2013

12 Respiratory Aids for Home Health Care

Consider these 12 categories of medical supplies for your respiratory needs.

1. Air Cleaners
Air purifiers and cleaners can improve the quality of the air you breath in your home or office. There are generally two reasons why you would need one:

You have a respiratory illness, such as asthma, emphysema, or allergies.
You live or work in an area where the air quality is poor, for example where mold and dust mites reign supreme.
Some air cleaners and purifiers use a filter system; others, an ionic cleaning process.

Learn more about the difference between air cleaners and air purifiers to help you decide which one might be best for you.

2. CPAP Machines
"CPAP" stands for "continuous positive airway pressure." A CPAP machine delivers slightly pressurized air from the machine, through a tube, and into a mask that covers the nose. This process is meant to prevent the airway from closing during sleep. Typically, CPAP machines are used for people with sleep apnea or other respiratory diseases. There are a few contraindications to a using a CPAP machine however, so always consult a doctor before using one.

Learn more about using a CPAP machine if you have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Learn more about sleep disorders and CPAP machines.

3. CPAP Accessories
There are a parts and pieces that round out the "CPAP kit". If you make the investment in a CPAP machine, you may have to make certain repairs or replacements to keep it functioning properly over time.

Some of the items to have checked periodically to make sure they are in good working order include:
  • tubing for the climate controlled air delivery
  • humidifier unit
  • filters
  • chin strap
  • water tub
  • nasal mask cushion
  • head attachment strap
  • airway connector valves and tubes
  • a carry bag to transport the CPAP machine and accessories
4. CPAP Masks

Ensuring proper fit of your CPAP mask is very important for successfully treating and managing Obstructive Sleep Apnea. There are masks made by a variety of manufacturers that you can buy through their distributor network. There are masks made specifically for men and women so that they fit the size and contour of the head. Try the different styles of masks on to see what fits most comfortably. There are different ways that the headgear and mask strap around the head and face, and each person's comfort matters.

5. Portable Emergency Oxygen Systems
These portable units are generally a durable plastic case that contains medically pure oxygen, tubing, and mask. The unit's purpose is to deliver oxygen to a person during an emergency while waiting for the first-response medical team to arrive. These portable units should be stored anywhere there is a high-risk for someone to suffer from a heart attack or stroke. Other emergency situations to prepare for would be allergy, asthma, and smoke inhalation. Portable emergency oxygen systems could make the critical difference in someone's ability to recover from an acute event before medically trained experts can arrive.

Learn more about how to qualify for medical oxygen and home oxygen supplies through Medicare.

6. Nebulizers

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Nebulizers are small portable devices that deliver aerosol medication to a patient through tubing, a medicine cup, and mouth piece.

7. Oximetry Meters

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Oximetry meters are another type of home medical supply that a patient can use on his/herself. The meters are specified to be used on either the wrist or finger. They produce a pulse rate and blood oxygen saturation reading in just a few seconds. Oximetry meters have become a popular device in the evolution of connected health and mobile health technology.

8. Home Oxygen Concentrators
Not intended to be portable, home oxygen concentrators are meant to stay in the home. Concentrators provide patients with respiratory illness requiring additional oxygen support with medical grade oxygen in a durable and quiet unit. They are powered by a wall outlet. Although home units are not "portable," most are manufactured with wheels so that they can be rolled from one to room to another in the home.

9. Portable Oxygen Cylinders
Portable oxygen cylinders come in several shapes and sizes. Some can be carried by hand, some in a cart, others fit in a backpack. They are used in the home, office, or in the car.

Learn more facts about oxygen therapy.

10. Portable Oxygen
Portable oxygen concentrators are used for the same reason home oxygen concentrators are. The portable units are designed smaller for travel outside of the home. They are powered by a mix of AC and battery.

Do you travel and need to take your oxygen with you? Learn about air travel with a portable oxygen concentrator.

11. Respiratory Accessories
Each of the categories described in this list have accessories that will need to be maintained or replaced over time.

A few items to keep your eye on to maximize the effectiveness of your respiratory therapy:
  • nasal cannula
  • batteries
  • power cords
  • tubing
  • humidifiers
  • filters
  • face masks
  • nebulizer medicine cup
  • nebulizer mouth piece
12. Suction Machines
Suction machines can be portable or standard. In simplest terms, they help clear secretions from a patient's airway to help them breathe better. Typically the machine is table-top size, and weighs around 20 lbs. The face mask and tubing work with the generator to provide enough pressure to stimulate the patient to clear secretions from their lungs. This process helps reduce the chance of a respiratory infection in a non-invasive way.