The nebulizer unit is used to deliver medication directly to your lungs to help you breathe easier. These treatments change medication into a fine mist and provide relief for shortness of breath.
Supplies you will need
- Nebulizer unit
- Nebulizer set for a tracheostomy
- Medication ordered by your physician
- Normal saline ampules (if ordered)
What to do
- Explain to the patient what you are going to do, even if you are unsure whether they can hear.
- Place the unit on a sturdy surface that will support its weight. Plug the cord from the unit into an electrical outlet.
- Wash and dry your hands.
- Carefully measure medicine exactly as you have been told and put them into the nebulizer cup. If you are told to add normal saline to the nebulizer cup, do so now.
- Assemble the cup.
- Connect tubing to the unit and then to the bottom of the cup.
- Attach the corrugated tubing to the top of the nebulizer cup and then to the tracheostomy collar.
- Turn on the unit and make sure it is working correctly. You should see a light mist coming from the corrugated tube attached to the tracheostomy collar.
- Have the patient sit up as straight as possible during the treatment. This will help in breathing deeply to get the full effect.
- Take slow, deep breaths. If possible, hold each breath for 2-3 seconds before breathing out. This allows the medicine to settle into the airways.
- Continue the treatment until the medicine is gone (about 10 minutes). The nebulizer will make a sputtering noise, and the cup will have just a little medicine left.
- During the treatment, if the medication sticks to the sides of the cup, you may shake the cup gently to loosen it to the bottom of the cup.
- Clean your equipment after each treatment by rinsing the cup and tubing under warm running water. Once a day wash the parts with a mild liquid detergent. Shake off the extra water and place parts on clean paper towels to air dry. Cover the parts with another clean paper towel until your next treatment.
- Wash your hands with warm water and dry them.
- If dizziness or jitteriness occurs, stop the treatment and rest for about 5 minutes. Continue the treatment, and try to breathe more slowly. If dizziness or jitteriness continues to be a problem with future treatments, inform your doctor.
Adapted from: Harkreader, H., & Hogan, M.A. (2007). Fundamentals of nursing: Caring and clinical judgment. St. Louis: Saunders