If there’s one word to describe the time we’re living in it’s “uncertainty.” Ever since the first case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States was reported back in late January, many Americans have struggled to make decisions about their health and financial well-being. With many cities across the country in a “lockdown” state and more and more people being encouraged to stay home and practice “social distancing,” it’s hard not to feel concerned about the future of the country.
To make matters worse, we know that the people who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus are older adults with pre-existing conditions like diabetes and COPD. The coronavirus is a “novel” virus meaning it’s new to the population and we haven’t built an immunity to it. What’s more, research has shown that severe cases of COVID-19 can lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), both of which contribute to COPD exacerbations.
Despite the circumstances, it’s important to stay positive and follow the prevention guidelines put forth by the World Health Organization (WHO). The guidelines are as follows:
- Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water
- Cough and sneeze into your arm or into a tissue rather than your hands
- Avoid touching your face
- Keep at least 6 feet of space between you and the closest person
- Stay home as much as possible, especially if you’re feeling sick
In addition to the general COVID-19 prevention guidelines above, COPD patients should also take the following precautions:
- Continue to follow your COPD treatment plan including oxygen usage, pulmonary rehabilitation, and an improved diet (unless otherwise stated by your pulmonologist)
- Avoid any non-essential travel
- Clean and disinfect your home regularly especially doorknobs, light switches, cell phones, and oxygen equipment (a great guide for cleaning and maintaining oxygen equipment can be found here)
While there is no magic wand we can wave to get rid of the coronavirus, we’re confident that if everyone does their part to keep their community safe, we can all get through this together. As for the respiratory specialists here at LPT Medical, we’ll continue to do what we do best — provide respiratory patients with high-quality, affordable portable oxygen concentrators.
If you have any doubts about whether or not portable oxygen concentrators are worth the investment during this time, read on as we discuss 5 ways POCs can help you save money. As usual, if you have any questions or you’d like to learn more about our plan to get oxygen concentrators in the hands of as many respiratory patients as possible, don’t hesitate to fill out the contact form at the side of the page so we can reach out to you.
They’re Durable and Reliable
For all the talk about how technologically advanced and lightweight portable oxygen concentrators are, very little attention is given to their durability and reliability. Oftentimes, this works against them, because many people are turned off by the idea of paying a high upfront cost for their oxygen machine. As a result, people may turn to alternatives like oxygen tanks or liquid oxygen tanks which only cost a couple hundred dollars upfront.
Unfortunately, as a COPD patient, this is the wrong way to approach this situation. The majority of COPD patients are on long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) meaning they’re required to use oxygen every day in order to maintain pulmonary stability and reduce symptoms like breathlessness and chest pain. As such, these patients need oxygen equipment that can match this new lifestyle.
Not only are portable oxygen concentrators lighter and easier to carry wherever you go, but they’re much more durable than oxygen tanks as well. On an oxygen tank, the nozzle and other components are exposed so if they get bumped or knocked around while you’re walking it could lead to a leak or permanent damage to the unit. Many oxygen tanks store oxygen at up to 2,000 psi (pressure per square inch) Which makes them extremely dangerous to carry around as well.
Portable oxygen concentrators, on the other hand, contain no pressurized oxygen meaning there’s a lot less that can go wrong with them. What’s more, all of the components of a portable oxygen concentrator are contained within a hard outer shell that protects it from wear and tear. There are also no components like a pressure valve or nozzle that stick out on a POC which could get caught on something and break. Even if you do drop your portable oxygen concentrator, you’re more likely to see damage to the outside of the unit rather than the internal components.
The bottom line is that portable oxygen concentrators don’t break easily meaning you’re less likely to have to dish out hundreds of dollars for costly repairs or replacement parts. However, it’s still important to make sure you’re only buying from reputable brands like Inogen, Respironics, and AirSep in order to ensure that you’re always using a high-quality product.
They Offer Great Warranties
A warranty is an agreement that the manufacturer will replace or repair a unit within a given amount of time. The great news is that most reputable portable oxygen concentrator manufacturers out there offer — at the very least — a 3-year warranty on their product and most of the time, you can upgrade it to a 5-year or lifetime warranty if you choose.
Many people worry about purchasing medical oxygen machines because they believe that if something goes wrong, the manufacturer won’t have their best interest in mind. However, the reason reputable oxygen manufacturers offer a 3-year warranty free of charge is because they know how reliable their machines really are and that they have a very low failure rate — otherwise, they would be losing money off the transaction.
Three years is more than enough time for you to test out the unit fully and ensure that there are no manufacturing flaws or defects that prevent you from receiving the oxygen you need. The warranty will ensure that you’re financially covered in the event that the manufacturer made a mistake or you dropped your unit on accident.
To put this into perspective, if you purchased a portable oxygen concentrator like the Inogen One G5 which is predicted to last between 5 and 7 years, you’d be paying between $1 and $1.31 per day for your oxygen use. Compare this to the $5 to $8 a day that you’d spend refilling an oxygen tank and it’s not hard to see why portable oxygen concentrators are the better option. Even if you decide to purchase a home fill oxygen station to fill your own oxygen tanks, these alone cost as much or more than a portable oxygen concentrator.
All things considered, the warranties that come with portable oxygen concentrators provide you with a safety net that oxygen tanks aren’t able to offer. Even if your concentrator stopped working immediately after your 3-year warranty ended, you would still be paying less than what you paid to use an oxygen tank!
Refurbished Concentrators are Cheaper
While we’ve already established that brand new portable oxygen concentrators are more affordable than other oxygen devices like oxygen tanks and liquid oxygen tanks, if you’re still not convinced, there are always refurbished portable oxygen concentrators. These are similar to used portable oxygen concentrators, but they have been returned to the manufacturer in order to be cleaned and checked for defects.
One of the greatest things about buying a refurbished portable oxygen concentrator is that you may be receiving a unit with just days of use on it for hundreds or even thousands less than you’d pay for a brand new one. In other words, you may be getting a significant discount on a unit that has barely been used and will still last for many years to come.
The one thing to note about refurbished portable oxygen concentrators is that they’re not always available. Their availability is based on whether or not people are sending their concentrator back to the dealer so you may not find the exact concentrator you want. In this case, be sure to speak with a respiratory specialist and have them notify you when your preferred unit is in stock.
While we want you to find the best deal possible on your new portable oxygen concentrator, we strongly advise against jumping into anything that you’re not certain you’ll like. Unfortunately, there are a lot of unverified oxygen dealers out there that will try to offer you low-quality products that won’t meet your oxygen demands and could leave you hundreds of dollars in the hole. Always do your research on the company you’re buying from and the manufacturer of the product before purchasing anything.
They Reduce Medical Costs
One of the most significant benefits of portable oxygen concentrators and oxygen therapy, in general, is its ability to improve the long-term prognosis for COPD patients. While many patients believe that oxygen therapy simply “makes them feel better,” in the grand scheme of things, it does much more than that.
According to the Nocturnal Oxygen Therapy Trial of 1980 which studied 203 patients with hypoxemic chronic lung disease, the mortality of patients who used oxygen continuously was 52 percent of that in patients who only used oxygen at night. Another study done by the British Medical Research Council found that, over a five year period, COPD patients that used oxygen therapy had a 22 percent higher survival rate than those who did not.
According to another study, one-quarter of all medical costs for COPD ($1.9 billion) went to hospital visits and inpatient physician services. A large portion of these costs was used to treat patients with acute exacerbation of COPD. What this means for you is that, not only will oxygen therapy improve your life expectancy, but it will also make you less likely to be admitted to the hospital for COPD exacerbations and other complications related to your illness.
According to Business Insider, the average in-patient hospital stay is around $10,000 for 5 days. If you take the figures we used above, that works out to about 7,633 days worth of oxygen therapy! In other words, investing in a portable oxygen concentrator now could save you from having to pay significantly higher prices in hospital visits later on. Not to mention the fact that going to the hospital takes you away from your family and your life at home which is something that nobody wants.
They Improve Productivity
Productivity is an important aspect of everyone’s life; young or old; sick or healthy. No matter whether you’re still working or you’ve already retired, it’s important that you’re still able to do things that you need to get done and at the same time, pursue your favorite hobbies and pastimes.
Ultimately, having a portable oxygen concentrator will be the only way to achieve your full potential as an oxygen patient. Even if you’re just doing work from home, a POC will afford you the mobility you need to get around with ease. The problem with using a bulky oxygen tank or home oxygen concentrator around the house is that if you need to go to another room of the house, you’re going to need oxygen tubing that can reach that far. Not only will this restrict your mobility, but it can also be a tripping hazard for you and anyone else that’s in the home.
These are difficult times for many people across the country, especially for those with chronic illnesses or those who have lost their job due to the coronavirus. We advise against COPD patients leaving their homes during this time if at all possible because getting sick could mean facing serious health complications like COPD exacerbations.
With that being said, we still believe that portable oxygen concentrators are the most beneficial and cost-effective oxygen therapy device out there. Even if you aren’t able to leave your home for quite some time, a portable oxygen concentrator will allow you to navigate your home more freely than a home oxygen concentrator or oxygen tank would. What’s more, you won’t have to hassle with refilling a tank constantly which can be time-consuming and costly.
Last but certainly not least, you can rest assured that the respiratory specialists here at LPT Medical will be fully available during the pandemic we’re facing. Whether you’re looking into buying a portable oxygen concentrator or you just have concerns about using your device, our respiratory specialists are always available to talk. It’s important to us that anyone and everyone who wants a portable oxygen concentrator has access to one during this time, so we’re offering a lot of great deals to make that happen. Start by filling out the contact form at the side of the page and we’ll reach out to you as soon as possible.