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Community and mental health services for Southampton, Portsmouth and parts of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.


Taking one step at a time - Colin's story

Since Colin Garner left St Mary’s Hospital in Portsmouth in June 2021 having survived COVID-19, he’s been cared for by Solent NHS Trust’s Home Oxygen team and Portsmouth Rehabilitation and Reablement Team(PRRT). We caught up with Colin when he came back to St Mary’s for an ambulatory oxygen therapy check up by Associate Practitioner, Terrie Ranger.

Colin explained: “I was in hospital for 6 months, I can’t remember a lot because I was in a coma. I’ve been out for 7 months now and they’re (Solent staff) just brilliant. I went through a stage where I didn’t want to do anything anymore but now I’m going for regular walks.

“The advice they give me is amazing. It’s learning to breathe again and this is the only place, the only people I feel that can help me.

“I know that the team will come around and look after me. They phone me regularly. I can phone them regularly for advice. Without the team, I wouldn’t be here now. I didn’t think I’d walk again, ever.”

What does Solent’s Home Oxygen Team do?

Solent’s Home Oxygen Team is a community assessment service for mainly cardiorespiratory adult patients with complex needs living in Portsmouth city area. These patients need assessment and ongoing management of wide range of clinical requirements, including Long Term Oxygen Therapy (LTOT), Ambulatory Oxygen Therapy (AOT), Short-Burst Oxygen Therapy (SBOT) or Palliative Oxygen Therapy (POT).

The team works closely with the local acute hospital (Portsmouth Hospitals University Trust), primary care and other community care services to ensure safe and effective, high quality care for their patients. They also act as an expert resource for other health care professionals dealing with complex respiratory patients.  

Solent’s home oxygen patients tend to be older so there are several factors to consider so that they, like all other service users, remain living at home, and independently, for as long as possible. 

Older people can lose mobility and the ability to perform simple everyday tasks quickly so when a patient starts to avoid moving because they are experiencing breathlessness or having frequent chest infections, due to a lung condition they can start deconditioning. Deconditioning means they can be more susceptible to falls and depression, and ultimately become more dependent on their family/friends or social care to help them with everyday life.  

Alongside the physical therapy and care given by Solent’s home oxygen team, they also vitally help educate service users on how to manage their lung condition and to keep moving in spite of feeling breathless. Thanks to their specialist training and skills, team members are able to recognise when patients are slowing down either due to deconditioning or progression of their lung condition, as they see them at home, in their normal environment.

Beyond the home oxygen remit, patients can also be offered other Solent services such as pulmonary rehabilitation or occupational therapy for further support.

Linda Stephens, Home Oxygen Service Team Lead, admitted: “Our patients are more than a ‘caseload’ to us as we really care about them. We never discharge our patients so we are with them on their oxygen therapy journey from the beginning to the end, therefore we really get to know them and their family, and them us.”

We wish Colin well as he continues to live with the long-term effects of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, discover more about Solent’s home oxygen service here:



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