Just because a patient is on oxygen doesn’t mean that they are stuck at home and cannot travel. On the contrary, today it is much easier for the typical oxygen patient to travel by car, train, plane or cruise liner. Before the jet setting begins, here are a few tips you should advise your patients about before they leave home—to make it easier for both of you to breathe easy during any trip!
- Have the patient check with their doctor first. Patients need to consider avoiding places with extreme hot or cold temperatures, and places such as large cities with heavy pollution.
- Patients should keep a copy of their prescription with them. If their oxygen equipment malfunctions, a copy of the prescription will make acquiring a backup source of oxygen much easier to obtain.
- Patients who travel with a POC should carry a letter of necessity for oxygen with them. The FAA requires this when taking portable oxygen concentrators on board and they will have to show this to them when checking in.
- If traveling by air, a POC is the only way to go. High pressure cylinders and liquid vessels are not allowed onboard aircraft. The only approved oxygen source permitted on today’s flights are portable oxygen concentrators, and the FAA must approve each POC individually. The back label of the POC will have the FAA approval listed. Most airlines require that you have enough extra battery life to last at least 150% more time than the flight is scheduled to take. Do not plan on using any electrical outlets on board the aircraft.
- Advise patients to keep the name of their oxygen equipment provider and their phone number with them. In case of any problems, they can reach out to you for help.
- If travelling by car, advise the patient that all cylinders should be stored safely and secured in the vehicle. Never place cylinders in the trunk. As always, there is to be no smoking in or near the car when oxygen is in use.
- If the patient is renting a portable oxygen concentrator for the first time, advise them to pick it up several days before they leave on their trip. This will allow them to become familiar with the unit and ask any questions before they leave.