CNA TIP OF THE WEEK:
All CNA’s need to know the procedures for the use and safe handling of oxygen when their patients have been prescribed to receive oxygen supplementation.
Oxygen is usually provided in compressed form in green tanks; but, oxygen is also available in liquid form or can be provided with a concentrator. Oxygen safety can be overlooked – it is prevalent in our atmosphere and we all breathe it to survive. Technically speaking, oxygen is not flammable in the sense of gasoline, propane and other flammable chemicals; but, oxygen is an accelerant, supporting combustion and should always be considered as a fire hazard. If your patient does use oxygen, be sure that there are written oxygen instructions present for its use and safe handling.
Oxygen Safety Tips
- No smoking should be allowed in a room where an oxygen tank or source is present, even if it is not in use. All cigarettes, ashtrays, matches, and lighters should be removed from the room.
- Do not use electrical appliances in a room where an oxygen tank or source is present. While oxygen is in use, wall plugs should not be removed due to the risk of a spark.
- Do not use candles or other open flames in a room where an oxygen tank or source is present, even if the oxygen is not in use.
- Do not comb or brush a patient’s hair while oxygen is in use.
- Remove wool and all synthetic bedding materials and blankets that can create sparks. It is always preferable to use cotton items instead.
- Check oxygen equipment regularly for leaks. As a safety precaution, it is wise to shut-off leaking oxygen equipment and seek immediate help. If oxygen therapy is stopped briefly, always monitor the patient’s condition until the oxygen supply is restored.
- If there are any problems with oxygen equipment or safety, be sure to complete an incident report and give it to your supervisor or office.
- Read a real life experience from an oxygen user @ http://www.portableoxygen.org/o2safety.html