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Oxygen Assessments

What is an Oxygen Assessment?

When you have an oxygen assessment it is important that you are clinically stable. This means that you are feeling well, have not had any chest infections in the previous 6 weeks, and are not taking any extra antibiotics or steroids on top of your usual medication.

When you arrive at the hospital for your assessment an oxygen probe will be placed on your finger or ear lobe; this detects the amount of oxygen in your blood by passing a light through the finger or earlobe. This is completely painless. If the oxygen level is low you will need to have a blood test which measures the exact levels of oxygen and other gases in your blood. This is usually taken from your earlobe or an artery in your wrist (link to ABG’s when written).

CBG SampleIf the sample is taken from the earlobe a special cream will be applied to your ear and left for around 10 minutes. This will usually make your ear feel quite warm. A small scratch is made on the earlobe and a sample of blood is taken. If the blood oxygen level is low, the healthcare professional performing your test will give you additional oxygen to breathe for around thirty minutes, after which time another sample of blood will be taken. This process will continue until the oxygen and other gases in your blood have improved to suitable levels. The blood tests also monitor your waste gas, carbon dioxide. Some patients are not suitable for oxygen if they retain or build up levels of carbon dioxide in their blood.

What Happens Next?

A home oxygen order form will be completed by the healthcare professional performing your assessment. This is then sent directly to the company who will supply the oxygen to you and everything you need will be delivered to your home within 3 working days of your assessment.

A representative from the oxygen supply company will contact you by telephone to arrange the best time for the engineer to visit and install the equipment. It is often helpful to have a friend or relative present when the engineer delivers the equipment.

Will I Need To Be Assessed Again?

It is necessary to review your oxygen requirements at regular intervals. You may become slightly better or get slightly worse over time so it is important to ensure you are receiving the correct amount of oxygen. Again the assessment requires you to be clinically stable.

In order to re-assess your oxygen needs the healthcare professional performing your assessment will ask you to turn off your oxygen (if you are using it) and breathe room air for around thirty minutes. After this time you will have your blood oxygen levels checked without and then with oxygen to find the right level for you.

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