Aim: To assess the frequency and accuracy of inpatient oxygen prescription at North Shore Hospital, Auckland.
Method: Between 14 April 2005 and 14 May 2005, 100 medical inpatients receiving oxygen therapy were randomly selected for chart review. For each patient, the clinical diagnosis, oxygen prescription (if present), and initial medical plan were analysed in conjunction with the oxygen flow rate and oxygen saturations (as documented in the observation chart).
Results: Only 8% of patients receiving oxygen had it prescribed in their medication chart. The majority (75%) of oxygen prescriptions were inadequate.
Conclusion: Current rates of oxygen prescription on medical wards at North Shore Hospital, Auckland, are unsatisfactory. This poor oxygen prescription rate carries serious potential consequences.