Oxygen Therapy and COPD
If a patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has increased dyspnea, a decreased level of consciousness, an altered mental status, and/or has suffered major trauma, the paramedic shall:
- administer oxygen therapy as per the General Directive above. If pulse oximetry equipment is not functioning, administer oxygen by nasal cannula with oxygen flow at two litres per minute above the patient’s home oxygen levels, or two litres per minute if patient is not on home oxygen;
- re-assess the vital signs approximately every 10 minutes;
- maintain oxygen flow rate at that level, if the patient’s status improves;
- increase oxygen by increments of two litres per minute above starting level approximately every two to three minutes if the patient’s status deteriorates or the patient indicates they feel worse; and
- be prepared to ventilate.