"Possible improvements to facial oxygen masks, or cost effective alternatives.(observation)"

About: The Great Western Hospital / Respiratory medicine

(as a relative),

Recently my brother has spent some time in the Great Western Hospital, Swindon suffering from pneumonia, which sadly proved to be a terminal illness. However I am sure that he would not have minded me making the following observation, especially if something could be done to improve matters, for patients that are required to wear an oxygen mask for their treatment.

The standard type of mask that was being worn by my brother was held in place by a single piece of elastic of the type used inside clothing. On every visit to his bedside, myself and other family members were continually wrestling with the mask trying to keep it squarely covering his nose and mouth, so as he could get the full benefit of the oxygen, but try as we might it proved an impossible task even after tightening the elastic around his head by pulling through the holes either side of it.

We even asked nursing staff to reposition the mask which they duly did on several occasions but frustratingly it would not stay put. I also made the observation that most of the problem was due to the 'drag weight' of the tubing to the mask, which continually pulled it to one side, and made it slip off of the nose. It was a continual nuisanse, with the oxygen very often going to waste.

As an engineer I thought to myself, surely some alternative method of fixing the mask to the patients nose and mouth could be used in this day and age, and it may well be that there are other alternative and betters versions in existence. I thought of Velcro strips, fastening clips or indeed anything which would prove to be a better method of keeping the mask in place. This is not in any way a complaint, but an observation, as it may well be that this type of mask has been the standard issue for many years within the NHS, and that no one has ever thought to either come up with a different design, or a cost effective available alternative.

I am not sure if this problem has ever been picked up on, but non the less I would welcome any comments by way of responses that could help improve matters.

Thank you.

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Response from Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust We are preparing to make a change

Thanks for your feedback, we discussed this issue with our Procurement Lead to feedback your suggestion and see whether there are alternatives available.

We're aware this is a common issue with oxygen masks used across the NHS and the Procurement Team will look at what else may be available on the market that gets round this sort of problem and they will then discuss it as part of the group that reviews clinical products within the Trust.

I hope this is helpful to you.

Update posted by sovietski (a relative)

Dear GWH NHS Foundation Trust,

Thank you so very much, as I am particularly happy with your reply if it leads to a change to a better system. However I do not think that the current problem is necessarily one unique to Great Western NHS foundation trusts, and so I would suggest that if a cost effective replacement is available then it could be tested here, and if successful other trusts would be notified. After all it is a National health Service, not withstanding individual trusts.