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Horizon Prime Hospital - Thane

Proning

There is a perfect, non-invasive way of improving your oxygen levels! This method can also be practised at home, by yourself. COVID-19 has left millions of people gasping for air, in need of ventilators and oxygen tanks to help them breathe. For patients who are affected and show mild respiratory distress and may progress to the stage where they would need a ventilator, proning has proved to improve their breathing and increase the oxygen levels.

So, what is proning?

As a guideline called ‘proning for self-care’ by the Ministry of Health explains, “Proning is the process of turning a patient with precise, safe motions, from their back onto their abdomen (stomach), so the individual is lying face down.” Proning is medically accepted to help improve the oxygen level of the patient. It is extremely beneficial, especially if you are isolating at home.

Why is this important?

Proning keeps the alveolar units open, making breathing easier and significantly improves ventilation.
It is recommended only when you face difficulty breathing and when your oxygen levels decrease below 94.
Compromised oxygen circulation may lead to worsening complications.
Timely proning that helps maintain good ventilation could save many lives.

How to practice proning?

These are the steps you need to follow to practice proning safely. You will need 4-5 pillows; position them as follows :

  • One pillow below the neck,
  • One or two pillows below the chest through upper thighs and
  • Two pillows below the shins

Proning positions :

  • Lying on your stomach,
  • Lying on your right side,
  • Sitting up,
  • Lying on your left side and back to
  • Lying on your stomach

It is recommended that you don’t spend more than 30 minutes in each position and regularly alternate between each position.

Things to remember when proning :

Avoid proning at least for an hour after meals,
Practice it only as much as tolerable; you can prone up to 16 hours a day in cycles,
Adjust the pillows slightly according to your comfort,
Keep track of pressure, sores, injuries around bony prominences (areas where the bone is close to the surface).

Who cannot practice proning?

  • Pregnant individuals,
  • Individuals with deep vein thrombosis (treated in less than 48 hours),
  • Individuals with major cardiac conditions and
  • Individuals with unstable spine, femur or pelvic fractures.

Along with proning, regular monitoring of SpO2, along with other signs like temperature, blood pressure, and blood sugar, is important during home isolation.