Care Homes and COVID-19: Oxygen management

Tiffany Barrett, Interim co-director, South West Medicines Information and Training, NHS England SouthPublished

Home oxygen therapy is commonly used in care homes by patients with underlying lung conditions. In the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there may be an increased need for oxygen therapy to support patients in the care home. However this should be managed by appropriately experience clinicians e.g. acute or community respiratory teams.

The Care Quality Commission: Managing oxygen in care homes

Last updated 5th Jan 2021

Our summary

  • This resource provides advice on the safe use of oxygen in a care home setting including storage, safety advice, patient safety alerts, holding stock for emergency use etc.

London Clinical Networks: The London Clinical Networks have produced a number of documents that may be of value to those working within care homes or other settings with patients who require supplemental oxygen. The documents can all be found here and include –

  • Primary Care and Community Respiratory Resource pack for use during COVID-19 (Version 7, July 2020)

Our summary

  • Comprehensive document which provides advice and support on various aspects of respiratory care for patients with suspected COVID-19 in community settings
  • Covers respiratory management of patients with underlying lung conditions/co-morbidities as well as patients with no pre-existing lung disease or significant co-morbidities
  • Of particular relevance section
    • Section 2.2.2 Categorising patients with COVID-19 symptoms in the Community
    • Section 3 Guidance in the use of oxygen therapy in COVID19 outside of hospital setting
    • Section 4 Palliative care

Note – your local PCN/CCG will have a model of care provision to reduce the risk of transmission between people requiring face to face assessment, make sure you are aware of it and how to access support for care home patients.

  • London Clinical Oxygen Network (LCON) Oxygen in Care Homes (Version 1, Sept 2020)

Our summary

  • A useful checklist of things to consider if and when considering prescribing oxygen in care homes


  • London Clinical Networks: Oxygen therapy outside acute settings during the COVID 19 pandemic (Version 3.3)

Our summary

  • This guide was produced for health care professionals working in non-hospital settings where oxygen may be required, focussed on those situations where the patient has or is suspected to have COVID 19
  • It has been developed using the British Thoracic Society guidelines for Emergency Oxygen (2017) and expert clinical consensus across London

Note – your local PCN/CCG will have a model of care provision which may include zoning and/or hot and cold sites. The care home staff should be aware of how and when to refer care home residents into this service.

To get back to our care home resource hub: clinical pharmacy section, click here

Administration update: 18/2/2021