Ward set to benefit from gift

Dunedin Hospital patients needing lung transplants will be able to move more freely after a donation of more than $16,000 to fund equipment.

The respiratory department’s stock of portable oxygen concentrators will jump from one to three, and the donation will also fund an oxygen humidifier.

The Otago District Oxygen Concentrator Project received the funds from the Otago Masonic Charitable Trust, as well as masonic lodges throughout Otago.

Trust secretary Grant Watson said staff members from Ward 7a — Dunedin Hospital’s respiratory ward — reached out in March about the possibility of getting help to buy a portable oxygen concentrator.

While the department already had one, demand for use was skyrocketing.

Otago Masonic Charitable Trust representatives Grant Watson (left) and Mel Darling flank...
Otago Masonic Charitable Trust representatives Grant Watson (left) and Mel Darling flank specialist nurse Lynda Paris as she demonstrates using a portable oxygen generator, watched by Dunedin Hospital ward 7a staff Olivia Campbell, Andy Evans (left) and Ged Campbell. Photos: Gregor Richardson
These machines enable people to move and travel more freely without being encumbered by numerous heavy oxygen canisters or the very large free-standing, non-portable concentrators patients use at home.

The portable oxygen concentrator will be particularly significant for the increasing number of patients being assessed for transplant who regularly must travel to Auckland. Internal funding for such equipment had to go through the Health New Zealand Te Whatu Ora (HNZ) capital expenditure request process, and there was no guarantee of acceptance.

It was symptomatic of the hospital’s situation that this was not likely in the near future.

Mr Watson said the trust reached out to lodges throughout Otago to check the level of support for the project.

He was was chuffed with the widespread and overwhelmingly positive response. Eighteen lodges supported the project.

As a result there was enough to fund more than the one item initially requested.

One of the new portable oxygen generators.
One of the new portable oxygen generators.
Lodges from Queenstown to Oamaru, Wānaka to Clinton and Tapanui and all in between have raised over $16,000.

This means that the Otago District Oxygen Concentrator Project can buy two concentrators and a humidifier. Ward charge nurse manager Ged Campbell described the portable oxygen concentrators as small and compact.

There were up to 150 community-based patients who could be set to benefit from the donation, he said.

It enables people who are on domiciliary or home oxygen to travel more freely otherwise up until this point they travel with large, heavy oxygen cylinders.

It could enable people to go on holiday, or help them travel to other parts of the country for treatment, particularly lung transplants.