Oxygen dependency support
Children and young people may require oxygen therapy, which provides them with extra oxygen. This is usually required if the child’s lungs are having trouble with absorbing oxygen from the air.
Often, children are oxygen dependent if they have Chronic Lung Disease (generally relating to prematurity at birth) or post respiratory illness reliance on oxygen.
Your child may be using oxygen therapy for a variety of reasons. Community nurses are able to support you and your child through this process at home until they are no longer dependent.
We support the process to wean off oxygen. This can sometimes take weeks, months or sometimes years to achieve depending on the specific diagnosis and needs of the child.
We work with children and young people within their usual environment. By doing this, we are able to reduce the number of hospital stays/visits. This helps towards ensuring that the child or young person has access to the same care opportunities as those without additional needs.
How can we help?
Generally, children will be seen weekly for a respiratory and general nursing assessment, this would include assessing the respiratory effort, checking blood oxygen saturation levels (sats), general well being of the child, are they growing and thriving, feeding well etc.
We usually complete an over night oxygen saturation study once a month to ensure that oxygen requirements are satisfactory and adjust the amount of oxygen being delivered accordingly.
We, along with the consultant, will consider weaning your child off oxygen when they are:
- Thriving and gaining weight
- Maintaining oxygen saturations of 95% and above
- Clinically well; free of chest infections, colds and wheezy episodes for 1 month
Oxygen therapy often continues for some time after infant is stable and weaned off ventilation. We may use oxygen saturation monitors intermittently in continuing evaluation.
Having a child at home on oxygen means that daily tasks require a little more planning and we would support parents and children to continue leading the life that they previously would have done prior to needing oxygen.
This can range from advising on planning and going on holidays, advising on activities and planning for the start of nursery and school.
We work closely with many other professionals including your hospital doctor, health visitor and GP to make sure we meet current needs and plan for future needs.