Mrs. Carver has trouble breathing because she has COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). She needs to get more oxygen into her lungs. Her caregivers remind her to breathe slowly and deeply.
Mrs. Carver is given extra oxygen through an oxygen tank. The oxygen comes through small tubes attached to an oxygen tank. The two prongs at the end of the tubes are placed in Mrs. Carver’s nose to allow her to breathe. These tubes and the prongs are called a cannula.
The amount of oxygen that comes through the tubes is prescribed by a doctor. Nursing assistants will take readings with a pulse oximeter to measure the oxygen level in the patient’s blood. A pulse oximeter is placed on the tip of a person’s finger.
When Mrs. Carver first began oxygen therapy, she did not like the cannula. She kept removing it. Her nursing assistants would re-insert it, but they would not remove it. In the future, Mrs. Carver might need an oxygen mask as well. This mask will be placed over her nose and mouth. The cannula will stay in place as well.
It is important to keep all flames and fire away from a patient using oxygen. Signs outside Mrs. Carver’s door should say that oxygen is in use. Then staff and visitors will use caution when they are in and around her room.