A home healthcare medical device includes any and all equipment which can be used outside of sterile clinical environments. They are a must for senior people who suffer from any form of illness or disability.
People who use these devices at home are required to follow certain guidelines. They should have to gain a thorough knowledge of these devices before using.
Some examples of these home healthcare devices are ventilators, wheelchairs, blood glucose meter, oxygen concentrator, apnea monitors, etc.
Recently, we have witnessed an explosive surge in the popularity and usage of home medical equipment and healthcare devices.
Certain factors such as IoT (Internet of Things), stressed formal medical facilities, “smart-aging”, etc. come into play and ultimately—most if not all ill or disabled people prefer the comforts of their homes instead of any 4-walled white and sterile clinical ‘jails’ when they’re recovering or undergoing treatment.
These are the list of Best Medical Devices for Home Use 2018
We have compiled here a list of 10 most common medical devices which are cleared to be used on a non-professional level at non-clinical, household environments.
Medical thermometers are used to measure a person’s body temperature. They are one of the most commonly used home medical devices and are considered a must-have in healthcare kits to measure and keep track of fevers and unusual spikes in body temperature.
There are different types of thermometer technologies such as basal thermometers, liquid-filled thermometers (mercury-in-glass are the most accurate ones of this type), liquid crystal thermometers, dot-matrix or phase change thermometers, and electronic thermometers.
The temperature is measured by inserting the tip of the thermometer in the mouth under the tongue (oral or sub-lingual temperature measurement), under the armpit (axillary temperature measurement), or into the rectum via the anus (for rectal temperature measurement).
2. Blood glucose meter
Glucose is a type of sugar. A blood glucose meter is a small and portable machine which is used to determine the approximate concentration of glucose in the blood, also known as the blood glucose level. Most commonly used as a necessity by diabetic people or people with hypoglycemia, a blood glucose meter can help people in managing their conditions better by measuring and keeping track of fluctuations in the level of glucose in the blood.
A small drop of blood obtained by pricking skin (mostly finger) with a lancet is placed on a disposable strip which the meter reads and uses to determine blood glucose level and then displays the resulted level in units of mg/dl or mmol/l.
3. Blood pressure monitor
American Heart Association, American Society of Hypertension, and other such health organizations recommend that people with high blood pressure should take their readings more often at home as intermittent blood checks at the doctor’s might not be enough.
Manual BP monitors and automatic BP monitors are the most common means of blood pressure measurement at home.
An automatic BP monitor is easiest to use as the cuff inflates by itself and it doesn’t require a stethoscope and the result is displayed on a small digital display. In manual BP monitors, you have to squeeze a bulb in order to inflate the cuff and it can be hard to use if you have conditions such as arthritis.
4. Pulse oximeter
Pulse oximeters are a type of medical device which is used to monitor a person’s oxygen saturation (SO2) in a non-invasive, painless, convenient, and inexpensive way. They measure the percentage of hemoglobin (the protein in blood that carries oxygen) loaded in the body.
Pulse oximeters for home use are small and lightweight monitors that painlessly attach to a fingertip to monitor the amount of oxygen carried in the body.
Used under a physician’s guidance, they assist people with COPD and related conditions in at-home patient monitoring to help adjust oxygen flow at home and during social activities. They can also assist your doctor in determining if your COPD is getting worse.
5. Portable Ventilator
Ventilation is the process of moving air in and then out of lungs. A ventilator, which is alternatively called a respirator is a medical device which delivers air into the lungs and thus acts as a sort of a mechanical breathing assistant.
Types of ventilators include pressure support ventilators, multi-mode ventilators, volume cycled ventilators, and bilevel positive airway pressure ventilators.
Home ventilators aren’t huge and complex like ICU ventilators. Home ventilators are small and portable. They’re also lightweight so they can easily be mounted on carts, wheelchairs, or bedside tables. They operate on household electric current or batteries.
6. Oxygen concentrator
Use: Home or stationary oxygen concentrators are medical devices which are used to deliver medical grade oxygen- greater than eighty-eight percent (88%) pure oxygen- to a patient via a nasal cannula or a mask.
Types: Standard home concentrators which run on AC power supply only. Then there are the portable oxygen concentrators which run on AC power supply, DC power supply, as well as on batteries. Weight varies from 50kgs (oldest models) to 30kgs (newer models).
Working: Air is composed of mostly nitrogen, and only about twenty-one percent (21%) oxygen. A home or stationary oxygen concentrator basically removes the nitrogen and provides concentrated oxygen to the patient via a nasal cannula. The concentrated oxygen output is usually measured in LPM (liters per minute).
7. Infusion pumps
Infusion pump, also called external infusion pump, is a medical device which is used for various purposes in different environments and serve the function of delivering fluids into the body of the patient in a controlled and regulated manner. The fluids delivered can be of small or large quantity, and can be nutrients or medications- such as insulin, pain-relievers, antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, iron, morphine, etc.
Some infusion pumps are stationary and stay at the bedside of the patient while ambulatory infusion pumps are portable and designed in a way which makes them wearable. Various infusion pumps are designed for specialized purposes, operate in different ways, and may operate on mechanical or electrical powers. Different types of commonly used infusion pumps include:
- Enteral pump
- Patient-controlled analgesia pump
- Insulin pump
- Syringe pump
- Elastomeric pump
- Peristaltic pump
- Multi-channel pump
- Smart pump
8. Apnea monitors
An apnea monitor is a medical machine which detects the cessation of breathing in infants and adults who are at risk of respiratory failure and alert parents or attendants.
There are two types of apnea monitors: stand alone, and modular, which can be used in settings like the home and nursery provided there is an uninterruptible power source and battery backup.
It tracks your baby’s chest movement (breathing) and heart rate. It includes an alarm which is sounded to alert you if your baby’s heart rate (bradycardia) slows down or if your baby’s chest stops moving (apnea), or if there is a fault in the equipment. It is extremely important to check up on your baby immediately every time the alarm sounds as your baby may need help.
A crutch is a type of mobility aid. It employs the upper body strength of a person to take the weight off the legs when people cannot use their legs to support their weight due to injuries or disabilities.
Usually made of the materials wood, metal alloys (steel, aluminum alloys, or titanium alloys), thermoplastic, or carbon-fiber reinforced polymer, crutches are of different types and provide varied support. Types of crutches include:
- Underarm or axillary crutches
- Forearm crutches (also called elbow crutches or “Lofstrand” crutches)
- Platform crutches
- Leg support crutches
- Crutches are different from walking sticks or canes in the sense that even though they serve identical purposes, canes and walking sticks are held only in hand and thus have very limited load bearing and balancing capability.
Most commonly used when walking is made difficult or impossible due to an injury, disability, or illness, wheelchairs are the chair with wheels which are designed in a multitude of formats to facilitate different people and their specific individual needs.
There are various types of wheelchairs available today which differ in factors like the technology used, propulsion methods, and control mechanisms. Innovations emerge frequently, but most of the times even the most specialized wheelchairs fail to be revolutionary because they’re mostly inaccessible to the poor population. The different type of wheelchairs most common today are:
- Manual self-propelled wheelchairs
- Smart wheelchairs
- Powered wheelchairs
- Manual attendant-propelled wheelchairs
- Mobility scooters
- Single-arm drive wheelchairs
- All-terrain wheelchairs
- Wheelchair stretchers
- Sports wheelchairs
- Standing wheelchairs
- Reclining and tilting wheelchairs
Medical equipment and devices even the ones which are FDA regulated and require physician prescription before purchase is becoming increasingly common in homes. Physicians recommend suppliers and there is no shortage of specialty shops on the internet as well.
With the advancement of time and technology, treatments and devices which were once too complex for hospital settings have made their way into the homes of patients and thus people not only receive the treatment or aid, they receive it all in the comfort of their homes. These 10 medical devices are nowadays as common in households as their related diagnoses are common in the world.