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Texas Home Oxygen Therapy Community Braces for Hurricane Ike
Date:9/11/2008

Providers Across the Gulf Coast Region Work Together to Prepare Vulnerable Oxygen Patients for Storm's Impact

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As Hurricane Ike approaches the Gulf Coast, home oxygen providers across Texas are implementing plans and procedures in advance of a potential healthcare crisis, threatening to disrupt immediate access to area patients' lifesaving oxygen therapy. In preparation for this pending disaster scenario, the Gulf Coast's home oxygen community is working vigorously to ensure that any patients in need of care as the storm hits are quickly located, identified and provided the equipment, supplies and services they require to maintain their therapy throughout the duration of the crisis.

All home oxygen patients have unique needs that require different oxygen treatments, which can become complicated when planning delivery schedules before a hurricane. Providers across the Gulf Coast region have completed their delivery routes and have been supplied extra carts of cylinders for emergency use. If power goes out in any branch, phones will be remotely routed to other areas so patients have access to 24-hour emergency response service. Providers are also constantly monitoring the storm and will advise their drivers individually when reports of high winds exceed recommended levels for delivery trucks to stay on the road.

"We have addressed emergency plans in each location and have contacted high acuity patients to make sure they are safe and understand their own evacuation plans," said Andy Ingram, Apria Healthcare's Vice President of Operations, Mid South Region, which services home oxygen patients in the Gulf Coast region. "Because of the size and strength of this particular hurricane, we have also alerted adjacent regional operation centers in the company to be on standby in the event that assistance is needed outside of our area."

The effects of a hurricane can wreak havoc on home oxygen patients, leaving thousands of oxygen users in need of emergency respiratory assistance to access life-saving oxygen therapy. Many patients will remain at home during this hurricane and widespread blackouts could leave them without the use of their stationary oxygen concentrators, which generate the medically-pure oxygen they require from ambient room air. If patients are unable to maintain their oxygen therapy as prescribed, they can become oxygen deficient and require hospitalization to stabilize their condition. If this should happen, patients are encouraged to contact emergency services.

"With the lessons we learned from Katrina and other hurricanes, we feel that we are prepared to handle anything that is thrown at us," added Ingram.

The Council for Quality Respiratory Care is a group of the nation's leading home oxygen therapy providers and manufacturers. CQRC members include AirSep Corporation, American HomePatient, Apria Healthcare, Invacare, Lincare, Pacific Pulmonary Services, Praxair, Inc., ResMed, Inc., Respironics, Inc., Rotech Healthcare Inc. and Sunrise Medical, Inc.


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SOURCE Council for Quality Respiratory Care
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