Claustrophobia/Confinement Anxiety

Preparation of the patient includes preparation for adaptation to the chamber.  A patient should be offered or informed to ask if a sedative or anti-anxiety medication is desired. Listening to music or watching videos may be offered, or instruction on relaxation methods and breathing techniques.  The patient must know that he or she is being constantly monitored and in control at all times.  The patient must feel confident that he or she can terminate the treatment at any time.

It is rare that a patient will not be able to continue therapy; however those with true claustrophobia may not be able to go into the chamber at all.  Some of the newer multiplace chambers have been redesigned to look like a normal hospital of doctor’s office.  This environment may be more conducive for nervous patients.  Also, in a multiplace chamber the patient is likely to have the company of other patients.

The patient should be instructed to report any cold or flu-like symptoms that may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, fever blisters, sores, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or all over body aches.  Respiratory viral infections can be made more severe when HBOT is administered—perhaps because of synergistic oxygen irritation of the lung.  A break in therapy is recommended, unless the patient needs urgent therapy.