Respiratory experts publish first quality standards for adult home oxygen use

Respiratory experts publish first quality standards for adult home oxygen use

The British Thoracic Society has published a New Quality Standard for home oxygen use in adults

All patients who are being considered for long-term oxygen treatment (LTOT) at home should have a thorough risk assessment delivered by trained staff, according to new national standards.

The assessment should include a review of the risk of fire, trips and falls from using oxygen within the home.  As part of the process, the smoking status of patients and other household members should be recorded – with safety advice and smoking cessation support supplied as appropriate.

The British Thoracic Society (BTS) is encouraging widespread use of its new set of Quality Standards for Home Oxygen Use in Adults by NHS commissioners, healthcare practitioners and patients to ensure the best possible clinical care.

The Standards also advise that all patients receive:

  • a blood gas ‘check-up’ three months after the initiation of therapy, to assess the  effectiveness, and future need, of LTOT at home;
  • regular ongoing checks by a home oxygen assessment service, at least on an annual basis;
  • education and information supplied by a specialist team.

The BTS Quality Standards for Home Oxygen Use in Adults, taken from the BTS Guideline on Home Oxygen Use in Adults (2015) offer ten quality statements summarising the latest, evidence-based practice available.  They are endorsed by the Association for Respiratory Technology and Physiology (ARTP), the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists (ARNS), the Association for Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care (ACPRC), the Association of Palliative Medicine (APM) and the Primary Care Respiratory Society UK (PCRS-UK).

Home oxygen therapy involves breathing in air that contains more oxygen than normal from a cylinder or machine at home.  It is typically prescribed for patients with heart or lung conditions who continue to have low blood oxygen levels after all other medical treatments have been given.

Latest figures show that around 85,000 people in England have oxygen at home.

Dr Jay Suntharalingam, Co-chair of the BTS Home Oxygen Quality Standard Development Group, commented:

“We’re delighted that the BTS quality standards for home oxygen use in adults are now available so that healthcare professionals can make decisions based on latest available evidence and best practice. It also gives greater clarity for people with respiratory disease, and their families and carers, on what services they should expect.

“Home oxygen can be a highly effective treatment for common lung conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), when blood oxygen levels are low.  This allows those affected to enjoy a better quality of life and can potentially improve life expectancy.

“However, as with all specialist treatments, it is vital that home oxygen is administered and reviewed effectively to ensure the safety and best health outcome for patients.  The new quality standards provide an outstanding framework for achieving this.”

Wendy Preston, Chair of ARNS commented

“ARNS welcomes and has endorsed the publication of the BTS Home Oxygen Quality Standards and our members were represented on the development committee by Joe Annandale, Respiratory Nurse Specialist at Prince Philip Hospital, Wales.

Approximately 85,000 people are prescribed oxygen at home in England and it is essential that these ten quality standards are implemented. This will require services to be commissioned and funded appropriately which will include respiratory nurse specialists who often leaders of home oxygen assessment services.

Many thanks to Joe for leading on this valuable work on behalf of ARNS”

Read BTS Home Oxygen Quality Standard

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