BE SAFE WHEN USING OXYGEN AT HOME

By Pam Gennings, Executive Director Special Projects

Oxygen therapy prescribed by a physician is beneficial for people who do not get enough oxygen naturally.

Oxygen therapy helps:

  • Improve sleep and mood
  • Increase mental alertness and stamina
  • Allow a person’s body to carry out normal functions
  • Prevent heart failure in people with severe lung disease

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are roughly two million households in the United States using home oxygen therapy, and home medical oxygen prescribed by a physician adds a higher percentage of oxygen to the air the patient uses.

Oxygen is not flammable and will not explode. However, oxygen does support combustion. This means that an oxygen-enriched environment makes things burn faster and ignite easier.

If you or someone you know is using oxygen at home, it is important to follow these safety precautions to avoid risk of injury such as burns to yourself or others, as well as fire and property damage.

  1. Do not smoke in the same room as the oxygen concentrator or oxygen tanks.
    Post “No Smoking” signs in and outside of home to remind people not to smoke.
  2. Keep the oxygen tubing away from heat source while cooking.
  3. Oxygen must be stored at least ten (10) feet from open flames, space heaters or any source of open heat.
  4. Avoid using electrical appliances that produce sparks, such as electric heaters, electric razors, hair dryers, friction toys, remote toy cars, etc.
  5. Do not use an extension cord to plug in the concentrator. Power strips with circuit breakers should only be used as a last resort.
  6. Do not use flammable products around oxygen.
  7. Never use grease or oil in the concentrator.
  8. Do not use Vaseline®, Vicks®, Chapstick® or other petroleum-based products on or around oxygen.
  9. Do not use aerosol sprays around oxygen.
  10. Place the concentrator in a well-ventilated room with at least one (1) foot of space around the sides.
  11. Do not attempt to repair any oxygen equipment. Call your oxygen provider if you experience trouble with your oxygen.
  12. Do not route the tubing under carpets or mattresses.
  13. Keep oxygen out of reach of children.
  14. Do not use more than 50 feet of oxygen tubing (57 feet with nasal cannula).
  15. Be sure to have a functioning smoke detector and fire extinguisher in your home at all times.
  16. Always follow the physician’s orders regarding the amount of oxygen you are using.
  17. Do not change the liter flow unless directed by you physician or healthcare nurse.
  18. Periodically check to ensure that you are using the correct liter flow.

Excerpts from Oxford Home Health Patient Education Material.

If you or someone you know is new to Home Oxygen Therapy, contact one of our Care Coordinators to find out more information about available home care services.

 

 

Before My Family Recognized the Emergency, Lifeline Came to the Rescue

By Pam Gennings

A recent blog post on our website Don’t Slip and Fall: Steps to Staying Safe encouraged readers to learn more about Lifeline Emergency Response if they, or a loved one, were at risk of falling. Recently, my family personally experienced the benefits of Lifeline. I am sharing our story to encourage those who are at risk of falls to consider Lifeline.

My sister-in-law Kathleen is 80 years old and has had Lifeline for a few years. She lives with her daughter Becky, but Becky can’t be available all the time.

Because of some health issues, our family encouraged Kathleen to get Lifeline for a sense of security when she was home alone. Thankfully, even after Becky retired and was able to be home more, Kathleen kept her Lifeline.

A few days ago, Kathleen got up at 4 a.m. She entered the bathroom and fell, cutting her hand and chin. Due to blood thinner medication, she started bleeding heavily. Kathleen called for Becky who was asleep in her downstairs bedroom. Becky could not hear her. Fortunately, Kathleen had her Lifeline button around her neck, and she pressed it.

Lifeline called Becky’s cell phone, but it was turned off. Unable to reach Becky, Lifeline called a neighbor who not only answered, but also had a key to Kathleen’s house.

When the neighbor entered, she found Kathleen on the floor, bleeding and saying her leg hurt. She quickly went downstairs to wake Becky. Unable to get Kathleen off the floor, they called 911.

Paramedics arrived and took Kathleen to the hospital where she received stitches in her hand and found out she had broken her hip.

Without Lifeline Emergency Response, Kathleen could have been on the floor for several hours suffering in pain and bleeding. Our family is so grateful for Lifeline. Becky is also upgrading her mother’s basic Lifeline service to include AutoAlert that detects a fall and automatically calls for help.

What happened to Kathleen could happen in any family. If you, or someone you know, are at risk of falling I encourage you to learn more about Oxford’s Lifeline Emergency Response System.

Don’t Slip and Fall: Steps to Staying Safe.

By: Pam Gennings, Executive Director Special Projects

LifelineThere is snow and ice on the ground and the groundhog saw his shadow. So although we may be dreaming of spring, winter weather is here for now.

Slick streets and sidewalks are reminders to be careful—not just in the winter but at all times—of falling.

Anyone can slip and fall, but those 65 and older are at the greatest risk of moderate to severe injuries from falls.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports:

  • Falls cause over 95%  of hip fractures
  • People 75 and older who fall are four to five times more likely to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or longer compared to those ages 65-74

Protect yourself, or someone you love, with simple steps:

  • Spread salt or sand on icy surfaces—ask for help
  • Stay inside during icy, snowy weather unless absolutely necessary
  • Wear snow boots or shoes with good traction
  • Always have someone with you
  • Clear off porch, steps and driveway—ask a friend or neighbor to help
  • Install outdoor lighting

Indoors:

  • Use nightlights in hallways and bathrooms
  • Keep a flashlight by your bed
  • Watch out for clutter, small pieces of furniture, throw rugs, electrical cords, etc.—remove or rearrange items that can cause you to trip
  • Watch out for pets—they are wonderful companions, but also get under foot
  • Arrange furniture with plenty of space to walk around
  • Install handrails on both sides of stairways
  • Put items frequently used within reach
  • Try not to use a step stool—ask for help or use a stool with a handle bar
  • Be cautious of wet floors—especially when friends and family come visit and bring the wintery mix indoors
  • Install grab bars in your bathroom and rubber bath mat in shower or tub

Fear of falling is also dangerous. Unfortunately, many older adults do not report a fall to a family member or doctor if no injury occurred. This often turns into a fear of falling which leads to limited activity. Reducing mobility and loss of physical strength and fitness only increases the risk of falling.

If you are at risk of falling, or concerned about a loved one’s safety, Oxford HealthCare can help. Oxford’s Lifeline Personal Emergency Response System detects a fall and calls for help.

Just click here to learn more about Lifeline and peace-of-mind at the push of a button.

 

 

You Are a Caregiver, Now What?

We offer home care programs that can provide help and support to caregivers.First, take a deep breath. While being a caregiver for a loved one or a friend is a tremendous undertaking, it’s also a huge blessing for that person. You are daily pouring love and kindness into their life. For that, you deserve to be praised. Not very many people are willing to commit this type of dedication and selflessness to benefit someone else.

As you begin this process of caring for someone in their home you might be feeling anxious or a little fearful. That’s okay. Here are five things you can do, to make this process a little easier.

  1. Learn about their condition. The more you know, the more confident you will be in caring for them. There are many resources that will help you determine what is considered normal for their condition.
  2. Don’t do it all. It’s okay to accept help from other family members and friends. Ask one person to bring dinner every Monday night, and another person to come help with laundry once a week. Without a good support system, you will burn out quickly.
  3. Contact a home care service for expert help. If you are struggling to know what to do, or if the person’s health condition changes, it’s important to contact a home health agency. Having qualified nurses come to your home can reassure you that your loved one’s condition is being monitored by a professional. You can even have one of the agency’s qualified employees help with daily chores or run errands for the person you are caring for. Plus, because these employees are professionally trained, you can feel confident in leaving the person you are caring for with them, while you go do what you need to do. Whether that’s running errands for yourself or maybe even taking a nap, having a professional help you can give you a little break. There are many payment sources available for home care including Medicare, Medicaid, Missouri Children’s Waiver, Insurance, Veteran’s Administration, Worker’s Compensation and private pay.
  4. Take advantage of new technology. There are many home care technologies out there today that provide your loved one with 24/7 access to help if they need it, along with daily access to their physician who can monitor their health.
  5. Take care of yourself. This is sometimes the hardest thing for caregivers to do. Because you are pouring so much into someone else, it’s essential you take time for yourself. Continue to exercise and eat healthy and do something fun. Remember, you can still live your life knowing that you can have other family members, friends or a home health agency come help you during times you need a break.

As a full service home care and hospice provider we have talked with countless caregivers through the years, hearing their daily struggles. Many told us it would have been difficult to sustain the long hours required to provide care for their loved one, without assistance from our employees.

If you are a caregiver, we offer numerous home care programs that can provide you the help, support and relief you need, so you can enjoy time with your loved one. Call one of our Care Coordinators today and we would be happy to assist you.

Lifeline Instantly Connects You to the Help You Need

Every year, Mary can hardly wait for winter to dissolve into spring so she can get out of the house and into her flowerbeds. However, this past spring, her annual ritual could have been quite dangerous if Mary had been without the Lifeline Personal Emergency Response System from Oxford HealthCare.

“I started at one end of my beds, but by the time I got to the other end, there was nothing to use to pull myself up. I wasn’t hurt, but I was stuck,” she said.

Mary lives alone. No one would know she was behind her house in need of help. Fortunately, Mary’s daughter prepared her mother in case of such an emergency with Lifeline. With Lifeline, help is right at your fingertips with just the push of a button. Because Mary knew she wasn’t hurt, but just needed a hand, she was able to pick who would respond when she pushed her Lifeline button. Rather than an automatic call to 911, her next- door neighbor was called and responded immediately.

When the Lifeline button is pushed a trained professional answers the call and immediately assesses the situation. If necessary, medical information is shared with the emergency responder so they may provide the most informed and beneficial care when they arrive. A Lifeline professional will also follow up to be certain help arrived.

“As with Mary’s case, not all emergency responses are the same,” said Shallina Bowers, Executive Director of HealthCare Services with Oxford HealthCare. “As the only locally operated program in the area, our clients get personal service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We also provide professional installations and extensive distance testing so each individual knows the range Lifeline will cover. Assistance and maintenance are provided at no extra charge and we never require a contract.”

More hospitals, doctors, professional caregivers and families across southwest and central Missouri trust Lifeline as the ideal choice for your personal safety, or the safety of a loved one. To schedule an installation and training, or if you just have questions about Lifeline, call an Oxford Care Coordinator at (417) 883-7500 or (800) 749-6555.