12 Respiratory Aids for Home Health Care

There are a number of respiratory illnesses that require special equipment that can be used at home. Those with asthma, COPD, emphysema,​ and other respiratory ailments may find some of the aids helpful.

Respiratory aids, such as air purifiers and CPAP machines, can ease your breathing and you should speak with your doctor about the right device to try.


Air Cleaners

LG Air Purifier

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Air purifiers and cleaners can improve the quality of the air you breath in your home or office.

There are generally two reasons why you would need one:

  • You have a respiratory illness, such as asthma, emphysema, or allergies.
  • You live or work in an area where the air quality is poor, for example where mold and dust mites reign supreme.

Some air cleaners and purifiers use a filter system; others an ionic cleaning process.


CPAP Machines

Man using CPAP treatment

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"CPAP" stands for "Continuous Positive Airway Pressure."

A CPAP machine delivers slightly pressurized air from the machine, through a tube and into a mask that covers the nose. This process is meant to prevent the airway from closing during sleep.

Typically, CPAP machines are used for people with sleep apnea or other respiratory diseases like COPD.

There are a few contraindications to a using a CPAP machine, however, so always consult a doctor before using one.


CPAP Accessories

There are parts and pieces that round out the "CPAP kit". If you make the investment in a CPAP machine, you may have to make certain repairs or replacements to keep it functioning properly over time.

Some of the items to have checked periodically to make sure they are in good working order include:

  • Tubing for the climate-controlled air delivery
  • Humidifier unit
  • Filters
  • Chinstrap
  • Water tub
  • Nasal mask cushion
  • Head attachment strap
  • Airway connector valves and tubes
  • A carry bag to transport the CPAP machine and accessories

CPAP Masks

Ensuring a proper fit of your CPAP mask is very important for successfully treating and managing obstructive sleep apnea.

Masks are made by a variety of manufacturers that you can buy through their distributor network. Many masks are made specifically for men and women so they fit the size and contour of the head properly.

Try on the different styles of masks to see what fits most comfortably. There are different ways that the headgear and mask strap around the head and face and one may be more comfortable for each user.


Portable Emergency Oxygen Systems

These portable units are generally a durable plastic case that contains medically pure oxygen, tubing, and a mask. The unit's purpose is to deliver oxygen to a person during an emergency while waiting for the first-response medical team to arrive.

These portable units should be stored anywhere there is a high risk for someone to suffer from a heart attack or stroke. Other emergency situations to prepare for include allergy, asthma, and smoke inhalation.

Portable emergency oxygen systems could make a critical difference in someone's ability to recover from an acute event before medically trained experts can arrive.



Nebulizers are small portable devices that deliver aerosol medication to a patient through the tubing, a medicine cup, and mouthpiece.

These electronic devices are an alternative to metered-dose inhalers and can be used by people with asthma, COPD, and other respiratory conditions.


Oximetry Meters

Oximetry meters are another type of home medical supply that a patient can use on themselves.

The meters are specified to be used on either the wrist or finger. They produce a pulse rate and blood oxygen saturation reading in just a few seconds.

Oximetry meters have become a popular device in the evolution of connected health and mobile health technology.


Home Oxygen Concentrators

Not intended to be portable, home oxygen concentrators are meant to stay in the home.

Concentrators provide patients with respiratory illnesses that require additional oxygen support with medical grade oxygen in a durable and quiet unit. They are powered by a wall outlet.

Although home units are not "portable," most are manufactured with wheels so they can be rolled from one room to another in the home.


Portable Oxygen Cylinders

Portable oxygen cylinders come in several shapes and sizes and are used in oxygen therapy. Some can be carried by hand, some in a cart and others fit in a backpack.

They can be used in the home, office, or in the car.


Portable Oxygen

Portable oxygen concentrators serve the same purpose as home oxygen concentrators.

The portable units have a smaller design that is convenient for traveling outside of the home. They are powered by a mix of AC and battery.


Suction Machines

Suction machines can be portable or standard. In simplest terms, they help clear secretions from a patient's airway to help them breathe better.

Typically, the machine is a table-top size and weighs around 20 lbs.

The face mask and tubing work with the generator to provide enough pressure to stimulate the patient and clear secretions from their lungs. This process helps reduce the chance of respiratory infection in a non-invasive way.


Respiratory Accessories

Each of the categories described in this list has accessories available that will need to be maintained or replaced over time.

A few items to keep your eye on to maximize the effectiveness of your respiratory therapy:

  • Nasal cannula
  • Batteries
  • Power cords
  • Tubing
  • Humidifiers
  • Filters
  • Face masks
  • Nebulizer medicine cup
  • Nebulizer mouthpiece
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