The South’s paramedics have become the first in the country to supply Coronavirus patients with home oxygen monitoring kits.
South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) is giving Covid-19 patients the kit if they don’t require immediate admission to hospital but are at higher risk of complications. This will ensure that patients who have mild symptoms can monitor their oxygen levels and know when they need to seek help.
The patients to receive the kit will be those at risk such as those over the age of 65, those with cancer, or those with other health conditions. The oximeters work by placing a clip on the end of a finger to measure oxygen in the blood and heart rate and, if oxygen levels drop to 94% or 93%, patients are asked to call their GP or NHS 111. They should call 999 if it falls to 92% or less.
The team, which included SCAS Medical Director Dr. John Black and Divisional Medical Director Professor Charles Deakin, studied almost 20,000 patients who called for an ambulance between March 1 and July 31 last year. They then analysed the oxygen levels of 1,080 confirmed Covid positive patients at the point they were initially assessed by paramedics at home.
Patients whose blood oxygen levels dropped only 1% to 2% below 96% – still within the normal range of 94% to 98% – and showed no signs of shortness of breath often went on to require admission to intensive care and had a lower chance of survival.
Dr. Black commented on this stating that the “original research helped to inform the wider rollout of the COVID Oximetry at home project to enable patients in high-risk groups to monitor their blood oxygen levels directly and help ensure timely referral to hospital when indicated”
If a patient does not suffer any further complications and makes a recovery at home they are asked to return the device after 14 days to their own GP Surgery or to their local COVID Oximetry at home service.