Original Research

Oxygen as a drug and scarce commodity: Do we use it rationally?

Linda Groenewald, Lurika Faber, Jean-Pierre Fourie, Cornelius J. Oosthuizen, Miécke Müller, Kayla van der Westhuizen, Dian D. Kapp, Righard Swanepoel, Hanneke Brits
South African Family Practice | Vol 64, No 1 : Part 4| a5544 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v64i1.5544 | © 2022 Linda Groenewald, Lurika Faber, Jean-Pierre Fourie, Cornelius J. Oosthuizen, Miécke Müller, Kayla van der Westhuizen, Dian D. Kapp, Righard Swanepoel, Hanneke Brits | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 March 2022 | Published: 21 September 2022

About the author(s)

Linda Groenewald, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Lurika Faber, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Jean-Pierre Fourie, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Cornelius J. Oosthuizen, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Miécke Müller, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Kayla van der Westhuizen, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Dian D. Kapp, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Righard Swanepoel, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Hanneke Brits, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Medical grade oxygen is classified as a drug and needs to be prescribed by a qualified healthcare professional. Oxygen therapy is prescribed to people who cannot maintain normal blood oxygen saturation while breathing atmospheric air. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic highlighted the importance of the rational use of this scarce commodity. This study investigated oxygen therapy practices in adult ward patients.

Methods: A cross-sectional study design with an analytical component was used in the adults wards at a National District Hospital and the Pelonomi Academic Hospital in Bloemfontein. Data were collected from patient files, interviews and oxygen measurements of adult patients that received oxygen.

Results: One hundred and fifteen patients were included in the study, of whom 47.0% received oxygen without an oxygen prescription. Around 62.3% of the patients with prescriptions did not receive oxygen as prescribed. The prescriptions and oxygen administration for COVID-19 patients were better than for non–COVID-19 patients. A quarter of the patients possibly received oxygen therapy unnecessarily.

Conclusion: Poor oxygen therapy practices were identified, including prescription errors, oxygen administration errors and oxygen wastage. A protocol should be developed and implemented for the prescription and administration of oxygen therapy. Training should occur to prevent oxygen wastage.

Contribution: This study highlighted poor oxygen practices and prescriptions, as well as oxygen wastage in the absence of local oxygen therapy guidelines.


Keywords

oxygen therapy; COVID-19; prescription; medical drug; wastage

Metrics

Total abstract views: 1771
Total article views: 2103


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.