How To Use An Oxygen Concentrator: A Step-by-Step Guide

walking concentrator

Using an oxygen concentrator can seem complicated. This easy guide breaks down each step to make you feel confident. It covers choosing the right location, putting the parts together, setting the oxygen flow, and what to do if issues arise. By the end, you’ll understand exactly how to meet your oxygen needs. You’ll be able to use the machine safely at home and on the go. Follow along to take control of your treatment and breathe easier everyday.

Quick Answer: How To Use An Oxygen Concentrator: Set up the oxygen concentrator in a safe, convenient location. Assemble the parts properly, following all instructions. Power on the device and set the prescribed oxygen flow rate. Attach the nasal cannula and monitor your breathing, notifying your doctor about any issues.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choose a safe, convenient location to set up the device with access to power and room to move around.
  • Follow all manufacturer instructions to properly assemble the parts like cannulas, tubing, and humidity bottles.
  • Power on the concentrator and set the oxygen flow rate as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Attach the nasal cannula and monitor your breathing, notifying your doctor if any issues arise.
  • Maintain the equipment through regular cleaning of parts, replacing filters when needed, and checking alarm systems to ensure continual safe functioning.

Understanding and Preparing for Oxygen Concentrator Use

Aspect Details
Understanding Oxygen Concentrators Medical devices delivering purified oxygen; Used for conditions like COPD, asthma, respiratory infections; Work by filtering nitrogen from air, providing up to 95% oxygen concentration; Available in portable models for mobility.
Choosing the Right Location Place in a well-ventilated area, away from heat sources; Avoid high traffic zones to prevent tripping hazards; Ensure tubing length accommodates movement.
Assembling the Concentrator Attach nasal cannula or mask securely; Use clean hands for assembly; Add humidifier bottle if prescribed; Ensure all connections are secure; Maintain and replace filters and parts as needed.
Electrical Setup and Safety Plug into a grounded wall outlet; Avoid extension cords; Ensure stable electrical support; Have a backup plan for power outages.
Initial Testing and Adjustments Perform initial self-check upon turning on; Set prescribed liter flow rate; Give body time to respond to oxygen flow; Adjust settings only with medical advice.

Understanding Oxygen Concentrators

An oxygen concentrator is a medical device that delivers purified, concentrated oxygen to patients in need of respiratory support. These stationary or portable units work by filtering nitrogen out of room air and concentrating the oxygen to deliver higher oxygen levels to the patient through a nasal cannula or mask.

Oxygen concentrators utilize molecular sieve beds and pressure swing adsorption technology to extract oxygen molecules from ambient air. As air is drawn into the device, nitrogen and other gases are trapped while oxygen passes through to be collected and delivered for inhalation. The devices alternate between beds to continuously produce an oxygen concentration of up to 95%.

Oxygen concentrators are commonly prescribed for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, respiratory infections, and other conditions that cause low oxygen saturation levels. They provide an alternative to oxygen tanks and allow patients more freedom and mobility with their treatment. Portable, lightweight models from companies like MasVida Health enable patients to receive therapy on-the-go.

Under a physician’s care, oxygen concentrators give patients the enriched, purified air their bodies lack, helping them breathe easier and regain strength for daily activities. Rental services for these devices make oxygen therapy more convenient and accessible for many patients.

Preparing to Use an Oxygen Concentrator

Choosing the Right Location

Selecting the right location to set up your oxygen concentrator is an important first step. Consider placing it in a well-ventilated area, avoiding proximity to heat sources like radiators or stoves which could affect performance.

Make sure the device will be out of high traffic zones to prevent the tubing from posing a tripping hazard. Also ensure the tubing will be long enough to accommodate your movement around the room while allowing you to stay connected. An optimal location will allow you to safely integrate continual oxygen therapy into your daily home life.

Assembling the Concentrator

Once you’ve selected a spot, begin setting up your oxygen concentrator. Carefully attach the nasal cannula or mask to the device’s output nozzle, ensuring a secure fit. Make sure to have clean hands when handling these components. If your prescription includes a humidifier bottle to add moisture to the air flow, fill and attach this following the manufacturer’s instructions. Ensure the water level aligns with any indicated markings before connecting it.

Double check that all connections are properly secured. Refer to your instruction manual for guidance on installing and replacing filters or other parts like tubing. Properly maintained components are vital for equipment integrity and effectiveness. Know when replaceable parts require switching out and keep spare parts on hand.

Electrical Setup and Safety

Most stationary concentrators should be plugged directly into a grounded wall outlet without an extension cord which could overheat. Make sure the outlet is located away from water sources or other environmental hazards. Check that the electrical cord is positioned to avoid posing a tripping risk. Contact a technician if you have concerns over the stability of your home’s electrical system to safely support the wattage demands.

Be prepared for potential power outages by having a backup plan or extra oxygen cylinders available from providers like MasVida Health. Reliable power is essential for consistent therapy.

Initial Testing and Adjustments

Once assembly is complete, turn the device on and observe its startup sequence. An initial self-check will confirm all systems are functioning normally before displaying the main operating screen. Refer to your owner’s manual if any error codes or alarms activate.

Set your prescription’s liter flow rate on the control panel. Typical settings range from 1 to 6 liters per minute depending on individual oxygen needs. Sit down and attach your nasal cannula or mask to begin receiving concentrated oxygen. Most patients quickly notice easier and deeper breathing as their blood oxygen levels increase.

Give your body 5-10 minutes to respond to the oxygen flow before reassessing your settings’ effectiveness. Adjust the liter flow gradually up or down only after consulting your doctor or respiratory therapist’s guidance for your condition. Don’t change settings without medical advice.

Understanding the Control Panel and Settings

Take time to understand your model’s control panel and interface. This main dashboard will display important info like power status, oxygen concentration percentage, runtime hours, and may incorporate warning lights or alerts. Flow rate and power controls will also be located here.

An alarm may indicate issues like low oxygen output, high or low pressures, or system faults. Consult troubleshooting guidance in your owner’s manual before attempting repair. Proper response to alarms can prevent device damage or hazardous conditions. But don’t hesitate to contact your equipment provider such as MasVida Health if problems persist. Their technicians can assess repair needs to quickly restore function.

With some education on your specific model’s operations, you’ll feel fully confident in the process of setting up oxygen therapy, adjusting settings, and responding to issues. Consistent daily use supported by the concentrator’s purified oxygen can help you breathe easier and support an active lifestyle.

Operating, Maintaining, and Traveling with an Oxygen Concentrator

Aspect Details
Operating the Concentrator Turn on with all connections secured and filters clean; Observe startup sequence and self-check; Adjust oxygen flow as prescribed; Use nasal cannula or mask for oxygen delivery.
Maintaining the Concentrator Monitor control panel for stable settings; Listen for consistent operation sounds; Keep tubes and outlets clean; Replace disposable parts like filters as needed; Wipe down surfaces regularly; Power down and disconnect during prolonged non-use.
Traveling with the Concentrator Prepare concentrator for travel; Secure portable concentrators and carry necessary accessories; Contact airline for air travel regulations; Use FAA-approved portable concentrators; Plan for battery power and charging needs; Follow safety precautions during travel.
Safety Precautions Avoid smoking or open flames near the device; Connect to grounded outlets; Follow electrical safety guidelines; Uphold cleanliness and use approved accessories; Incorporate safe practices as daily habits.

Step-by-Step Guide to Operating an Oxygen Concentrator

Turning On the Concentrator

When ready to start therapy, ensure all connections are secured, filters are clean, and outlets are grounded before powering on your device. Double check that flow knobs are turned to the lowest setting. Then switch the main power button on and observe the startup sequence. An initial self-check will assess all systems before normal operating displays appear. Refer to your device manual if any errors activate.

Expect some subtle noises from normal airflow and pressure adjustments. A quiet hum or periodic beeping is no cause for alarm. But contact technical support about concerning louder noises, burning smells, or visible damage interfering with normal function.

With the power light steady, your system is ready to start delivering enriched oxygen when settings are adjusted.

Adjusting the Oxygen Flow

Using the control panel, turn the liter flow knob to your prescribed level, increasing incrementally until reaching the rate set by your doctor or therapist. Most patients utilize between 1 and 6 liters per minute during activity or rest. Do not change this flow rate without consulting your practitioner.

If feeling lightheaded or breathless at the prescribed level, adjust toward a higher flow in small increments. But promptly inform your doctor about the need for any major adjustments in your therapy; never drastically modify flow rates without guidance.

Using the Nasal Cannula or Mask

Place the nasal cannula prongs into your nostrils or strap your full face mask securely and comfortably with clean hands. Adjust tubing angles to allow free motion. Confirm the device maintains consistent purified oxygen flow through the outlets with each breath, never positioning in a way blocking air movement.

Cannulas allow easier mobility and speech while masks fully enclose nose and mouth for maximum oxygen circulation. Keep facial hair trimmed to ensure a firm seal. Report rubbing, discomfort, or skin irritation so providers like MasVida Health can fit you with an alternate size.

Monitoring and Maintenance During Use

Frequently check the panel to confirm your settings remain stable without fluctuations. Listen for consistency in the subtle hum or airflow sounds without disruption. Irregular noise could indicate failing components needing replacement or alignment.

Check tubes and outlets daily to keep clean. Replace disposable parts like filters when obstruction interferes with flow purity. Wipe down all surfaces regularly to prevent device and environmental contamination, following all infection control protocols for your care setting. Report concerns promptly before small issues compound.

During prolonged non-use periods, power down and disconnect the device fully after shutting off oxygen flow. Strict maintenance is essential for performance reliability.

Responding to Alarms and Errors

Concentrators contain sensor alerts to indicate falling oxygen purity levels from component failure or low internal pressures. When alarms sound:

  • Silence alarms only after assessing their cause.
  • Check connections and flow path for tightness and obstructions.
  • Note error codes displayed for troubleshooting guides.
  • Attempt simple restarting.

If error alerts continue despite following troubleshooting manual advice, call technicians to prevent faulty oxygen delivery. Technicians can detect whether parts replacement or repair is needed for prompt restoration through services like MasVida Health provides. But don’t hesitate to seek emergency assistance if respiratory distress persists.

Traveling with an Oxygen Concentrator

Preparing Your Concentrator for Travel

When preparing your oxygen concentrator for travel, proper planning helps ensure an uninterrupted therapy experience. Secure portable concentrators carefully to avoid device damage – stowing them with other electronics can keep them stable. Carry any necessary batteries, power adaptors, spare nasal cannulas, and copies of prescriptions in your hand luggage. Confirm sufficient battery charge beforehand and recharge between uses. Know the runtime duration on current settings to anticipate repower needs.

If driving, position the concentrator to be easily accessible and protect tubing from pinching. Maintain clear access between device outlets and the user. Anchor wheels on rolling carry carts when parked.

Execute all regular maintenance checks beforehand to enable smooth operation.

Air Travel with an Oxygen Concentrator

Contact your airline well ahead of planned travel to understand their specific oxygen policies and paperwork requirements which can vary. Policies accommodate only FAA-approved portable oxygen concentrators carried in the cabin to facilitate monitoring during flight. You may need to provide a doctor’s statement verifying medical necessity.

Concentrator use is restricted during takeoffs and landings while seatbelts are fastened. Arrange ahead for any layover oxygen needs between airport connections through your airline. Always carry documentation of your prescription and FAA-compliance for smooth transitions through security and customs screenings. Devices may need removed from carry cases for inspection.

Having backup batteries, assembled cannulas, and direct accessibility to your unit ensures seamless oxygen delivery in transit.

Managing Oxygen Needs During Travel

Careful planning ensures continually meeting your oxygen requirements while traveling. Analyze your expected itinerary duration alongside your concentrator model’s flow settings to anticipate backup oxygen resources needed from providers like MasVida Health. Locate points en route for obtaining tank refills safely. Build contingencies for unexpected travel extensions or equipment malfunction.

Stick to your prescribed flow rate settings throughout transit. Monitor usage durations closely rather than relying upon low battery indicators alone which don’t factor individual device performance. Avoid assuming universal power adaptors suffice when recharging overseas; pack accordingly.

Safety Precautions

Fire Safety and Oxygen Use

Oxygen accelerates combustion. Avoid smoking or open flames within 10 feet of your device. Prevent sparks from electrical equipment, candles, cookware, etc. around your oxygen equipment. Arrange concentrator placement away from radiators, wood stoves, fireplaces, or heaters which could affect internal components and create ignition risks.

Ensure functioning smoke detectors are installed inside all living spaces as an early warning measure. Have accessible fire extinguishers nearby, understanding how to operate them. Conduct a home fire drill involving household members to promote response preparedness if one is ever required.

Electrical Safety and Power Management

Always connect oxygen concentrators to grounded wall outlets, never overloaded extension cords or power strips which can overheat. Position cords out of high traffic areas to prevent tripping hazards and equipment instability. Contact electricians immediately about any sparks, prickling sensations from outlets, or flickering lights suggesting circuit issues.

Enable battery backup systems to accommodate sudden loss of household electrical supply during severe weather or other power disruptions. Alert local utilities about your home oxygen dependence for priority restoration following community outages. Schedule generator assistance if blackouts exceed backup runtimes.

Responsibly power down equipment during periods of prolonged non-use.

General Safety Tips and Best Practices

Uphold cleanliness guidelines for oxygen equipment through regular disinfecting of touchpoints. Only use approved oxygen-safe tubing, masks, filters, and humidifiers to maintain purity integrity. Never modify or deliberately disable any built-in safety or alarm features on concentrators.

Refrain from using oil-based skincare products like certain moisturizers or petroleums on the face which could taint therapy air flow. Always ensure sufficient room ventilation around oxygen equipment to prevent suffocation risks or discharged gas accumulation.

Incorporate safe practices as daily habits. Report any concerning changes in device performance, room conditions, or health symptoms immediately rather than troubleshooting solo where expertise is needed. Don’t disregard safety!

Join healthcare’s ultimate resource for long-term care!

Never miss out on our podcast, blogs, or daily content created to educate, equip, and encourage long-term care leaders to provide better care to the growing population of over eight million seniors in the U.S.
Follow Us on Linkedin
Join our weekly Newsletter

The ultimate resource for long-term care leaders.

Never miss an episode again! Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

You serve our most vulnerable population, and your job is TOUGH. That’s why we’ve created Healthcare’s Eight Million Seniors. Designed to educate, equip, and encourage long-term care leaders like you!

Don’t worry, we hate spam too. We only send this once a week.

OneSource: Your Single Source for Same-day DME Delivery and Better Facility Hygiene

Better products. Better service. Better outcomes.

Partnering with one provider for your DME and facility hygiene services can result in reduced turnover, higher quality work, and healthier facilities.

single oxygen tank

Medical OxygenTherapy →

wound care icon

Negative Pressure (NPWT) →

respiratory icon

Respiratory Therapy →


Durable Medical Equipment →