Hyperbaric chamber treatment is a mostly risk-free medical procedure that involves you breathing in pure O2 in a pressurized environment. Such an ecosystem is generated solely by the chamber you’re entering for around 90 minutes. There’ll be two break times of 10 minutes in between too.
But, did you see that I said ‘mostly risk-free’ while describing the procedure? Why did I say so? Is the process harmful for you? Or, is there something else that you don’t know about? This HBOT brand claims that these risks can be mitigated with the right precautions.
Well, none of these are actually true. Usually, hyperbaric chamber therapy won’t affect your body in any way… as long as you’ve been preparing correctly. Keep reading to know more about it.
Who Administers Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment?
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) is typically administered and overseen by a team of trained healthcare professionals. The specific individuals involved may vary depending on the clinical setting and jurisdiction. The team typically includes hyperbaric medicine physicians, registered nurses, certified hyperbaric technicians, and other support staff.
Hyperbaric medicine physicians are specialized medical doctors who have undergone additional training in hyperbaric medicine. They assess patients, determine the suitability of HBOT, and develop treatment plans based on individual needs. These physicians also monitor the progress of patients throughout the course of therapy and make any necessary adjustments to optimize treatment outcomes.
Registered nurses play a crucial role in the administration of HBOT. They are responsible for ensuring patient safety, monitoring vital signs, managing the hyperbaric chamber environment, and providing support and care during treatment sessions. They may also assist in wound care and other necessary medical interventions.
Certified hyperbaric technicians operate and maintain the hyperbaric chambers. They are trained in chamber operations, safety procedures, and emergency protocols. These technicians ensure the proper functioning of the equipment, conduct chamber pressurization and depressurization, and assist patients in entering and exiting the chamber.
Collaboration and communication among the entire healthcare team are essential to ensure the safe and effective delivery of HBOT. Each member plays a vital role in patient care and contributes to the overall success of the treatment process.
How to Prepare for a Hyperbaric Chamber Treatment?
Before you even consider undergoing the treatment, the first thing you must do is talk to a doctor. Make sure that you are consulting with someone who has prior experience in this aspect.
This consultation will involve you and the physician discussing about –
- Your medical history
- The current medications you are using
- Any potential contraindications to HBOT
Some specific conditions, such as recent ear surgery or untreated collapsed lung (pneumothorax), may prevent you from undergoing this procedure. Hence, it’s vital to disclose everything that may affect your health during the treatment at the very beginning.
Apart from these, you should also –
1: Go Through Medical Assessment and Clearance
In addition to the initial verbal consultation, a comprehensive medical assessment should also be conducted to determine your health. Here’s what the evaluation may include –
- Going through various laboratory tests (blood test, urine test, etc.)
- A thorough physical examination
- Imaging studies related to your organs’ health
Remember, it’s highly essential to follow whatever instruction is being provided by your physician and provide accurate information regarding your health.
2: A Review of the Medication You’re Using
During the consultation and medical assessment, your healthcare provider will review your current medications to identify any that may interfere with hyperbaric chamber treatment.
Certain medications, such as blood thinners or medications that induce seizures, may require adjustment or temporary cessation before the therapy. It is crucial to follow your healthcare provider's instructions regarding medication management and inform them of any changes in your medication regimen.
3: Following the Dietary Guidelines
In preparation for hyperbaric chamber treatment, your healthcare provider may provide specific dietary guidelines to follow. Although the general dietary recommendations may vary, it is advisable to avoid consuming alcohol and carbonated beverages for at least 24 hours before the treatment.
These substances can cause discomfort and affect the body's response to the therapy. Additionally, it is essential to stay adequately hydrated by drinking plenty of water before the session.
4: Considering Your Clothing and Personal Care
When it comes to attire for hyperbaric chamber treatment, comfort and safety are key. Patients are typically advised to wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing made of natural fibers, such as cotton.
It is preferable to avoid wearing items that may contain synthetic materials, such as nylon or polyester, as they can generate static electricity in the pressurized environment. Additionally, removing all jewelry, watches, and accessories before entering the chamber is necessary to prevent potential injuries or damage to the equipment.
5: Understanding the Pre-session Procedures
Before entering the hyperbaric chamber, patients are required to adhere to certain pre-session procedures. These may include emptying the bladder to avoid discomfort during the treatment and removing contact lenses, as the high oxygen levels within the chamber may cause lens discomfort.
Patients may also be instructed to remove makeup, lotions, and oils from their skin, as they can be flammable in an oxygen-rich environment. It is important to carefully follow all pre-session procedures to ensure the safe and effective administration of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
6: Going through Proper Mental Preparation
Preparing mentally for hyperbaric chamber treatment is equally important as physical preparation. While HBOT is generally well-tolerated, the enclosed environment of the chamber can be daunting for some individuals.
It is crucial to familiarize yourself with the process, ask questions, and address any concerns or anxieties with your healthcare provider. Engaging in relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or visualization exercises, can help alleviate any apprehension before the session.
Patients with Deep Decubitus Ulcer? Here’s What You Must Do Before HBOT
If you are a patient with a deep decubitus ulcer and considering hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), there are several important steps to take before undergoing treatment. Here's what you must do:
- Consult with your healthcare provider: Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider, preferably a wound care specialist or a hyperbaric medicine expert. They will assess your condition, determine if HBOT is appropriate for you, and guide you through the process.
- Wound assessment and preparation: Your healthcare provider will thoroughly assess your decubitus ulcer to determine its severity, stage, and any underlying infection. Proper wound care, including cleaning, debridement, and infection management, may be necessary before initiating HBOT.
- Address underlying conditions: Your healthcare provider will evaluate and address any underlying medical conditions that may contribute to impaired wound healing, such as diabetes or vascular disease. Optimal management of these conditions is crucial for successful wound healing and the effectiveness of HBOT.
- Review medications: Provide a comprehensive list of all medications, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements, to your healthcare provider. Certain medications, such as blood thinners, may need to be adjusted or temporarily discontinued before HBOT to minimize the risk of complications.
- Understand the procedure: It's important to have a clear understanding of what HBOT entails, including the duration and frequency of sessions, potential side effects, and expectations for wound healing. Your healthcare provider or the HBOT facility can provide you with detailed information and answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Do Patients Need To Prepare Mentally for HBOT?
While there is no specific mental preparation required for hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), it can be beneficial for patients to approach the treatment with a positive mindset and an understanding of what to expect.
HBOT involves being enclosed in a pressurized chamber for a period of time, which may cause feelings of claustrophobia or anxiety in some individuals. Therefore, patients can benefit from being aware of the chamber's environment and discussing any concerns or anxieties with the healthcare team prior to treatment.
Healthcare professionals can provide information, guidance, and support to help patients feel more comfortable and mentally prepared for the experience. Additionally, engaging in relaxation techniques or practicing deep breathing exercises before and during the treatment can help patients relax and alleviate any potential anxiety.
Maintaining open communication with the healthcare team and seeking emotional support, if needed, can also contribute to a positive mental outlook during HBOT.
Basic Things to Consider When Choosing An HBOT Medical Center
When choosing a hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) medical center, there are several important factors to consider.
Here are some basic things to keep in mind:
- Accreditation and certifications: Look for certifications such as those from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) or other relevant governing bodies, as these indicate adherence to high standards of care and safety protocols.
- Qualified healthcare professionals: Verify that the medical center has a team of qualified healthcare professionals experienced in hyperbaric medicine. This should include hyperbaric medicine physicians, registered nurses, and certified hyperbaric technicians who are trained in the safe administration of HBOT.
- Facility and equipment: Assess the facility's infrastructure and equipment. Look for modern, well-maintained hyperbaric chambers that meet safety standards and can accommodate your needs. The facility should have appropriate safety measures in place, such as fire safety systems and emergency protocols.
- Range of services and conditions treated: Consider the range of conditions the medical center treats with HBOT. Ensure that they have experience in treating your specific condition, whether it's non-healing wounds, carbon monoxide poisoning, decompression sickness, or other indications. A center with expertise in your particular condition is more likely to provide optimal care.
- Patient reviews and testimonials: Read reviews and testimonials from previous patients to gain insight into their experiences with the medical center. Positive reviews and feedback can indicate a reputable facility that provides effective and patient-centered care.
- Insurance coverage and cost: Check if the medical center accepts your insurance and what the coverage entails. Inquire about the overall cost of HBOT sessions, including any additional fees or services. Understanding the financial aspect will help you make an informed decision.
- Location and accessibility: Consider the location and accessibility of the medical center. Choose a facility that is convenient for you to reach, especially if you require multiple sessions over an extended period.
Hyperbaric chamber treatment is a valuable therapeutic intervention for various medical conditions. To ensure a safe and effective experience, it’s essential for you to be well-prepared both physically and mentally.
Consultation with a healthcare professional, undergoing a comprehensive medical assessment, reviewing medications, following dietary guidelines, wearing appropriate clothing, and adhering to pre-session procedures are crucial steps in preparing for hyperbaric chamber treatment.
By following these guidelines, you can optimize the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and improve their overall well-being.