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Getting started
with oxygen therapy

Should you require any assistance or advice on our products or services, do not hesitate to contact us anytime.

Air Liquide Healthcare can help you get started with oxygen therapy.

How is oxygen in my blood measured?

Your doctor will confirm if the amount of oxygen in your blood is low by testing:

  • Arterial blood gas: A small amount of blood is taken from an artery (usually in the wrist). This test is very accurate and measures the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood.
  • Pulse oximetry: A device on your finger estimates how much oxygen is in your blood. This test is simple and pain-free. With your doctor’s approval, Air Liquide Healthcare can perform pulse oximetry testing in the comfort of your home.

Understanding your prescription

Your doctor will prescribe oxygen therapy that suits your needs. Your oxygen therapy prescription has three main parts:

  • Flow rate is the amount of extra oxygen your body needs. Your doctor may want your flow rate to remain constant, or to change based on your different activities such as when you’re sleeping or being active. Your flow rate is expressed in litres per minute (LPM)
  • Duration of use refers to the number of hours per day oxygen therapy should be used. Typically, 16 - 24 hours of use per day is required to be effective for COPD
  • The type of oxygen supply equipment you use will be recommended by your doctor based on funding and what suits your lifestyle
Your doctor will advise you of your oxygen therapy needs and we can assist you with a variety of oxygen supply systems.

How does oxygen therapy work?

There are three main types of oxygen equipment:

  • Stationary oxygen concentrators
  • Portable oxygen concentrators
  • Oxygen cylinders

Oxygen concentrators are electrical devices that filter air to leave only the oxygen. Portable units run on batteries. Oxygen cylinders contain oxygen under pressure to hold a greater volume of gas.

Whatever system you use, the oxygen is typically delivered to your nose by soft plastic tubes (cannula). Stationary oxygen concentrators have a flexible extension tube that lets you move around while remaining connected to the oxygen supply. These provide the extra oxygen you need throughout your day.

How do I arrange home oxygen?

Air Liquide Healthcare will set up your oxygen therapy whether you are coming out of hospital, living at home or in a nursing home:

  • We coordinate all the arrangements with your doctor
  • We can supply oxygen for your trip from hospital, and make sure everything is set up for you when you arrive
  • We will show you and your family how to use the equipment and answer all your questions

Our goal is to take the worry away and leave you feeling confident with oxygen therapy.

Am I eligible for funding?

State government funding

Each state and territory uses different criteria to decide who is eligible to receive an oxygen equipment subsidy. In some states, a central organisation is responsible for subsidies and in other states the subsidies are managed by local health services or hospital boards.

Federal government funding

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Commonwealth Department of Health also provide funded oxygen equipment for war veterans and people in residential aged care facilities, under certain conditions.

Your doctor and Air Liquide Healthcare can let you know the right people to contact.

How do I use oxygen in my daily life?

Integrating oxygen therapy into your daily routine will not only prolong your life, but it will enhance your quality of life. You may feel self-conscious about using it in public at first but you will soon appreciate the benefits it brings.

New portable oxygen systems are small and lightweight – as little as 1.4kg. These discreet systems will help you gain confidence when going out.

Using your oxygen will help you continue doing the everyday things you enjoy.

You’ll soon learn to adapt to using oxygen equipment in your home, and if you have a portable unit, you’ll be able to leave the house. Begin with a short trip and build up to longer periods as you become more comfortable.

Patient support groups

You may find it helpful to join a support group to meet other people who are also using oxygen therapy. Sharing stories and tips can be enjoyable and beneficial. Ask your healthcare facility to help you find a local group or visit Lung Foundation Australia’s website.

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