Portable Oxygen To Boost Quality Of Life

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Home Oxygen Program

Patients who rely on oxygen will have greater mobility thanks to a change in the Home Oxygen Program.

Starting Sunday, April 1, eligible Nova Scotians will have access to a monthly supply of portable oxygen.

Portable oxygen is for use outside the home and is intended to help people who rely on oxygen to attend medical appoints and take part in more daily living, family and community activities.

"Through the Continuing Care Strategy we want to give people the support they need to stay in their own homes. We also want them to have the tools they need to live well," said Health Minister Chris d'Entremont. "Portable oxygen will help a number of Nova Scotians live a fuller life."

Eligible home oxygen clients will be provided with up to 10 tanks of portable oxygen per month; each costing up to $18. The service includes an oxygen concentrator, along with regulator, nasal cannula, oxygen tubing and a backup cylinder. Clients will also receive funding to pay for other needed equipment and supplies.

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Approved oxygen vendors throughout the province will deliver, set up and maintain the equipment.

The province will pay part, or all, of the cost of the 10 tanks of portable oxygen each month depending on the client's need, income and family size.

A re-testing process is also being introduced to the Home Oxygen Program. Between 90 and 120 days after service begins, new clients will be tested again by a designated physician to determine if they continue to require oxygen for medical reasons. Clients who qualify will not need to undergo further testing. Clients currently in the Home Oxygen Program do not need to be retested.

"Nova Scotians have many important health-care needs," said Mr. d'Entremont. "We have a responsibility to ensure that we are spending their money wisely, and that we are accountable for that spending."

There are about 1,075 clients currently enrolled in the Home Oxygen Program. Today, the program costs about $2.1 million annually. It is expected that the expansion will cost an estimated $695,000 annually.

The Continuing Care Strategy is a 10-year plan to enhance and expand Nova Scotia's continuing-care system. By building on community support, increasing local solutions, and ensuring care options are available when and where they are needed, the strategy aims to create a system that supports Nova Scotians in their desire to live well in a place they can call home.

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