Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be an effective treatment option for various medical conditions. While the experience of being in a hyperbaric chamber may feel different from other medical treatments, it is generally a comfortable and low-risk experience. As a medical technician, you must help your patient understand this! That’s the intent of this patient’s guide.
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Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a form of medical treatment that necessitates breathing pure oxygen within a chamber that has been pressurized. This treatment helps treat conditions such as non-healing wounds, carbon monoxide poisoning, and radiation therapy damage.
Now, it’s not unusual to find patients who are skeptical about this therapy, especially first-timers, who might be scared of going for the sessions. As a medical practitioner, you must help your patients understand what it feels like to be in a hyperbaric chamber and the benefits of the therapy. So, read on for a patient’s guide.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Expectations: Before, During, and After the Session
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Every therapy session comes with its do’s and don’ts. Things expected of the patient before, during, and after the treatment. The same thing goes for HBOT. There are expectations and basic things your patients must prepare and keep in mind to guarantee the sessions’ success.
What to Expect Before Entering the Hyperbaric Chamber
Before entering Oxygenark hyperbaric oxygen chamber, patients should note the following;
- Remove any metal jewelry, watches, and other items that could be affected by the increased pressure.
- Patients must also change into comfortable clothing, such as a cotton t-shirt and sweatpants.
- Patients may have to use the restroom to avoid the need to do so during the session.
- Patients must check their blood pressure and heart rate before entering the chamber.
In addition to the above, the healthcare provider will issue the patients a pre-screening questionnaire to ensure they are suitable for hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This questionnaire includes questions about medical history, current medications, and any recent illnesses or surgeries.
What To Tell Patients Before The Session
- Encourage your patients to arrive at the hyperbaric facility early enough to prepare for the session and complete any necessary paperwork.
- Encourage your patients to open up about concerns or questions before entering the chamber.
- Discourage your patients not to eat heavy meals or drink alcohol before their hyperbaric oxygen therapy session. It is also essential to avoid smoking or using any tobacco products for at least two hours before the session.
- Inform your patients about the potential risks of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, such as ear injuries, sinus pain, and vision changes. Also, patients with certain medical conditions, such as lung disease or a history of seizures, may not be suitable for hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
By following these guidelines and being aware of what to expect before entering the hyperbaric chamber, patients can ensure a safe and comfortable experience during their hyperbaric oxygen therapy session.
What to Expect Inside the Hyperbaric Chamber
Once your patient is inside the chamber, the pressurization process begins. During the pressurization process, the hyperbaric chamber gradually increases the air pressure around the patient’s body.
The chamber can be pressurized with 100% oxygen or air. If 100% oxygen is used, the patient will be breathing pure oxygen, which provides a much higher concentration of oxygen to the body than what is normally breathed in through room air.
As the treatment progresses, here’s what will happen to your patient;
- Patients will feel a change in ear pressure, similar to the sensation experienced during a flight. This is usually relieved by swallowing, yawning, or chewing gum.
- Patients may feel warmth and humidity inside the chamber, but this is generally mild and can be adjusted.
The sensation of being inside a hyperbaric chamber varies from person to person. Some patients may feel a slight pressure on their ears, while others may feel fullness or discomfort. As a technician, you can adjust the pressure to minimize the effect once these discomforts are noted.
What Happens During the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Session?
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Once the desired pressure is reached, the patient will begin breathing in the pure oxygen through a mask or hood. Breathing the pure oxygen can feel refreshing, and patients may feel a sense of increased energy or well-being during the session.
During the session, here’s what you need to do for your patients;
- Provide patients with a mask or hood to wear that is connected to the oxygen source. The pure oxygen may feel cool and refreshing as it flows into the mask or hood.
- Encourage them to relax, rest, or even nap. Some hyperbaric chambers are equipped with televisions or music players to help patients pass the time.
- Encourage patients to stay inside the chamber for the entire session, even if they feel uncomfortable or claustrophobic.
What Will Patients Experience During the Session?
Some patients may experience discomfort or claustrophobia during the session, but this is generally rare. The hyperbaric chamber is designed to be spacious and well-lit, with a clear acrylic window that allows patients to see outside the chamber. Encourage patients to communicate with you outside the chamber via an intercom system if they need assistance or have concerns.
How Long Does a Hyperbaric Therapy Session Last?
Sessions typically last between 60 to 120 minutes, depending on the patient’s condition and the prescribed treatment plan. Most patients will feel comfortable and relaxed during the session, with only mild discomfort or pressure sensations. However, as a technician, you can help patients manage discomfort and ensure a safe and effective session.
What to Expect After the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Session
After the session, the decompression process begins. This process involves a slow decline in the pressure level. At this final stage;
- Patients may feel slight discomfort or pressure in their ears as the pressure slowly decreases.
- Some patients may experience mild side effects such as fatigue, headache, or nausea, but these typically subside quickly.
- Some patients may experience more severe side effects. Still, these are rare and usually only occur if the patient does not follow the pre-treatment guidelines properly or has an underlying health condition that could be affected by hyperbaric oxygen therapy. In such cases, as a healthcare provider, you must closely monitor your patient and adjust the treatment plan.
Can Patients Return to Normal Activities After the Session?
Yes, your patients can immediately return to their normal activities after the session. However, they should follow any post-treatment instructions provided. This may include drinking fluids, avoiding alcohol and smoking, and getting enough rest.
Patients may also notice improvements in their condition after the first few sessions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. However, the number of sessions needed and the overall effectiveness of the treatment will depend on the patient’s condition and response to treatment.
How Safe Is a Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a safe and effective treatment option for various conditions. Many patients report feeling more alert and energized after the session and may notice improvements in their symptoms over time with regular treatment.
While patients may experience some discomfort or side effects during or after the session, these are typically mild and short-lived. However, with proper preparation and follow-up care, patients can undergo the treatment confidently and improve their overall health and well-being.
Healthcare providers need to discuss with their patients, explaining to them what it feels like inside a hyperbaric chamber to alienate their fears. Also, provide more information about the benefits and risks of this treatment option and answer any questions your patients might have about the preparation, session, or aftercare process.
However, from our guide, you can be sure HBOT is a safe and effective treatment! And our product – Oxygenark hyperbaric chamber, is easy to operate with little to no technical skills as long as you follow our manual.