Home Pulse Ox
I am going to go on a bit of a rant here.
If I could wish away one piece of medical equipment now reasonably available to Joe Public it would be the home pulse oximeter. What some may argue as being one of the more important tools in the RT's belt -- and which used to be very expensive for public purchase -- is now available for less than $100 at your local Walmart. And every COPDer has three of them.
There is nothing more frustrating to me as a respiratory therapist to be called continuously to a patient's room for PRN breathing treatments because the patient has brought his home pulse oximeter and has put him or herself on continuous pulse oximetry, and his or her sats have gone from 98% to 92%. While we all know that this drop in O2 saturation means essentially nothing, it sends lungers into fits of breathless anxiety and call button-pushing madness. Most nurses are unaware that this drop from 98% to 92% is insignificant so an RT is paged mercilessly overhead, and we come -- nebs a-blazing.
These things should be considered contraband in any and all medical facilities, unless used by trained medical professionals.
I spoke with a doctor about this the other day and he said to give the patient normal saline breathing treatments. This doctor is a former RT, so he understands. Personally, I think ativan is more indicated.
I have tried giving education. I have tried to place their home pulse oximeters out of reach ... but they always find their way back onto shaky lunger fingers. I doubt I can get away with smashing them into pieces ... but accidents happen.