Giving a loved one the gift of a portable oxygen concentrator is both generous and thoughtful, but it is not easy, especially if you are trying to keep it a surprise. Here are five points to consider before you call to place an order:
- DO find a reputable dealer who will take care of your loved one’s unit long after they unwrap the box.
- DON’T just ask the dealer which is the least expensive or the most popular model. You’re buying a piece of medical equipment, not a toaster. You may save a couple hundred dollars, but if your loved one cannot use the unit you chose, then you may end up wasting thousands of dollars. Take time to find out which unit is best for your loved one.
- DO your homework. Talk to your loved one and find out his or her oxygen needs.
- DO obtain a prescription (or at least have the doctor’s information so the dealer can make the request). The FDA requires the dealer to have a prescription for portable oxygen equipment, even if you are paying out-of-pocket.
- DON’T order too early. The most reputable dealers will offer a 7-10 day trial, during which time you can replace the chosen POC for another model. The ability to replace the unit is especially important when you’re giving a POC as a gift, and if you order too soon you’ll waste the trial period and may have to pay a much larger restocking or trade-in fee. I recommend placing your order so that it arrives just a 2-3 days before the gifting occasion. But you’ll need to start working on the order up to at least two weeks prior to ensure availability and allow for shipping time.
With a little extra thought and care, your gift of oxygen may very well be the most loved and appreciated gift ever received.