A new oxygen machine is the reason 17-month-old Kaiden Dafoe has been sent home from Royal University Hospital.

The baby boy and his family were recently released from the Saskatoon hospital thanks to a trial program that sent 10 take-home Airvo machines to the pediatrics department.

“It is the only thing that got us home with Kaiden. He spent seven months in hospital from birth and we took him home because of this machine,” Morgan Dafoe, Kaiden’s mother, said.

“If Kaiden wasn’t on this machine, I don’t know where we would be. We’d probably for sure be in and out of ER even more than we are now.”

The Airvo machine pumps pressured, heated oxygen through a nasal cannula to children with respiratory issues.

Children with respiratory issues typically need to be hospitalized to receive oxygen through the specialized machines, but the machines sent to Royal University Hospital are able to be set up in the patient’s home.

“It gets families out of hospital and that’s the goal because hospital beds are really overfilled,” pediatrician Dr. Darryl Adamko said.

When Adamko learned the Airvo machines could get more children home to their families, he reached out to the manufacturer of the equipment, Fisher & Paykel.

Fisher & Paykel agreed to loan the hospital 10 machines.

“The government has allowed us to trial these machines that deliver high flow heated humidity and that’s allowing kids to go home while they’re growing, before they get better,” Adamko said.

Eight of the machines have since been sent home with families. The remaining two are expected to be given out soon, according to Adamko.

The government will assess the impact the machines have on children’s recovery and the price when the trial ends June 30. They’ll see if the machines are less costly than nights in hospital.

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the average cost of a hospital stay is $7,000.

The Airvo machine costs $2,500 and has variable expenses like $100 tubes that need to be changed every few weeks.

But in the provincial budget, the government phased out the funding of continuous positive airway pressure generators.