Seniors suffering from cardiopulmonary challenges that prevent the lungs from absorbing enough oxygen can find it hard to source enough oxygen on their own. As such, they need supplemental forms of oxygen to help them breathe. Having home oxygen devices with them at all times is not optional. When they need to move around traveling, walking or going to appointments, they have to go with portable oxygen tanks.
As we grow older, lung function naturally declines. According to the American Medical Association, 30+ million Americans suffer from some form of chronic lung disease, and 3 percent of those people need some form of oxygen therapy. Recent advances in technology have allowed for more portability. This allows patients to carry out their day-to-day activities while still getting the required amount of oxygen.
Seniors who need supplemental oxygen opt for portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) over traditional oxygen tanks to maintain an independent lifestyle. Conventional oxygen tanks are mostly used in hospitals and homes and can weigh up to 150 pounds. Due to their weight, they allow minimum freedom of movement.
The bulky oxygen canisters also need to be regularly re-filled with compressed oxygen or liquid, putting patients’ health at risk. Portable oxygen concentrators, on the other hand, weigh much less and make traveling easy. Instead of going to a hospital to get oxygen from stationary units, a POC can comfortably fit in a shoulder bag and is guaranteed to never run out of oxygen.
Portable Oxygen Concentrators are medical grade breathing devices meant for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sleep apnea, cystic fibrosis, congestive heart failure, asthma and other breathing-related conditions necessitating oxygen therapy. POCs don’t require the big tanks or routine refills, making them compact, lighter and easier to travel with.
POCs work using the following 4-step process:
The process consistently produces purified oxygen (87-96 percent purity levels), the same quality as traditional oxygen canisters. These electrically operated devices are powered by batteries. The battery life per charge depends on the model of the system and the flow rate. But as long as they have a power source, they can run 24 hours a day. Compared to earlier models, POCs are very quiet.
Treatment may be needed chronically, while some seniors only use POCs occasionally during the day. Oxygen is delivered to the patient by Pulse/Intermittent Dose or Continuous Flow. Continuous flow means the concentrator delivers oxygen at a constant level in liters per minute while in Pulse Dose, it is delivered when the patient initiates a breath. Seniors are advised to use Continuous Flow when sleeping.
POCs currently in the market vary widely in their size, battery life, weight, noise levels, ease of use and price. Notable companies making POCs include Inogen, Caire, Inc., Philips Respironics, Invacare and ResMed. Buying the right device mean short and long term relief for your condition. That is why we prepared this list of the best portable oxygen tanks for seniors.
Philips Respironics was founded back in 1976 and is credited to be the first company to introduce the CPAP machine in 1985. The company designs and manufactures medical supplies, with special attention to respiratory functions. The Philips Respironics SimplyGo Mini is the lightest and smallest POC made by Philips. The device has 5 different Pulse settings and oxygen capacity of 1000ml/min. To quickly and efficiently set desired settings, the concentrator features an intuitive LCD touchscreen. The lightweight nature of this FAA-approved machine means you can carry it while camping, traveling on a plane or exercising. On pulse setting 1, the battery will last you 9 hours, while the run time on pulse setting 2 at 20 BPM is 4.5 hours. Straight from the box, you will get the SimplyGo mini main unit, AC/DC cords, a stylish carrying case, the user manual, an accessory bag and a standard rechargeable lithium-ion battery. On purchase, you receive a 3-year warranty from the manufacturer.
This third generation of the Inogen One series is a fantastic all-rounder. It has many desirable features including 8- and 16-cell battery options, 5 pulse settings and a free carrying bag. This low maintenance device delivers oxygen is an efficient and quiet manner. It was designed to offer ultimate compliance and freedom of movement to seniors in need of oxygen therapy on an ongoing basis. With average sound levels below 39 decibels, the device provides 90 percent oxygen concentration on all settings. To provide patients with the best breathability during oxygen therapy, the POC is equipped with advanced trigger sensitivity. The device can detect breath phase and deliver oxygen upon this phase, enabling a natural breathing pattern. Weighing just under 5 pounds, the 16 cell battery gives you up to 9.5 hours of continuous therapy depending on the pulse setting. On purchase, you will receive integrated batteries and AC/DC cords. Being an FAA-approved device means you can take it with you during flights.
At just 1.75 pounds, the Airsep Focus is one of the lightest and most wearable Portable Oxygen Concentrators on the market today. Designed for active seniors by Caire, Inc., an ACHC qualified and accredited company, you can strap this concentrator to a belt like a large cell phone or wear it with a handy shoulder strap. The product is FAA approved, meaning you can use it during your next flight and enjoy quality therapy wherever you travel. The concentrator has 2-pulse dose settings and delivers an oxygen concentration of 90 percent (plus or minus 3 percent). For power, you get a rechargeable lithium battery that boasts a battery life of up to 3 hours depending on your preferred oxygen flow rate. It will take you 3-4 hours to fully charge the battery once it’s empty. The POC has alarm indicators for start-up, Cannula disconnect, breath rate, pulse flow, battery charge rate, low battery and general malfunction. The Airsep Focus comes with a belt clip, shoulder strap, nasal cannula, carrying bag, AC/DC power supply and 2 micro batteries.
The DEDAKJ Portable Oxygen Concentrator is a compact, powerful and efficient device that’s equipped with many helpful features. The outside has a sleek design that will complement your home’s aesthetics while the interior has some amazing technology. The simple to use device lets you adjust the flow from 1L to 6L per minute. Increasing the volume will reduce the purity and vice versa. At 14.33 pounds, the POC is not the lightest one in our list, but it’s compact enough to carry around. Also, it won’t take up too much space in your home. So you can begin using it right away, the device comes with a 3m long tube and a nasal device. A remote control is included and can work from 20 m away. With a noise level of fewer than 45 decibels, it won’t disturb you or others, especially at night.
When it comes to size and versatility, Invacare has set the standard in portable oxygen concentrators. This device is a top reliable choice for seniors who need oxygen therapy on a 24-hours basis. Designed for personal use, the machine has connectivity and a specialized app that gives users historical data on performance and usage. There’s pulse display on the app and you can also monitor battery levels. To enhance your experience, there are guides online. The 2 batteries provided mean that when the first one runs low, you can use the second one until you reach a power source. To recharge at home or in your car, you get AC/DC adapters at no extra cost. Performance-wise, the device has 4 pulse settings.
PRO TIP: Just like pressurized oxygen tanks, POCs carry a high risk of combustion. Due to the presence of purified, flammable oxygen, you should avoid using your POC near flammable chemicals and heat sources.
Portable Oxygen Concentrators are helpful little machines that allow seniors in need of oxygen therapy an incredible amount of independence and flexibility. With the right concentrator, you can keep up with your family, friends and lead an active lifestyle outdoors. Before you buy a POC, consider factors like your individual needs, medical requirements, lifestyle and of course your budget.
Although POCs require an initial capital investment, you’ll spend less on hospital visits after you get yourself one. Pick a device from our list of Portable Oxygen Tanks and start enjoying an independent lifestyle today!
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