Insomnia, Snoring, Sleep Apnea

The world and life of a sleep tech

Posts Tagged ‘sleep studies’

New Equipment for CPAP Users on the Way

Posted by amykr on October 15, 2009

There are many CPAP users out there who do not use their machines. Much of this is due to the fact that this type of therapy is requires a strong desire by the user to stick with the therapy. The good news is new masks, machines and humidifiers are making this type of care more comfortable. Several new pieces of equipment are being introduced in the next couple of months.

A new machine is being introduced by Phillips Respironics. This new CPAP, according to the literature, takes care of many of the issues that users tend to have. It has CFLEX, a therapy mode that allows the breath to be delivered similar to a natural breath rather then a machine. This setting also has an adjustment so that the user can find the flow that is comfortable for their personal breathing pattern.

The equipment is also able to communicate with your doctor and medical equipment company. It has a program that will allow them to monitor the progress of the person using the machine and if they are having any issues they can be corrected in a timely manner instead having to wait for a doctor’s appointment and discussing it with them. All the patient needs to do is make a phone call. The doctor of the equipment company can then access the machine and know if it is being used, if the user is still have issues with snoring, apneas, or with the mask and they can then change the setting to help the person be more comfortable.

The final issue they have looked at is proper humidification without the water collecting in the tube. In the old humidifier the temperature was not controlled at the mask. This new machine looks at humidification at the mask so that excess water does not accumulate in the tubing causing a sloshing sound and accidentally drenching the patient as they move during the night.

New masks come out constantly. Phillips Respironics and Resmed have both come out with changes to the masks they offer. Respironics has two new full face masks. The FullLife mask is a restructuring of typical full face mask to make it more comfortable as well as making it lighter. The most unique thing is that it no longer has a forehead pad but has a headgear with a chin strap to adjust the pressure across the bridge of the nose. The Total Face Mask is a mask that seals around the whole face. This allows patients with unusual shaped faces or patients who can not tolerate nasal or full face masks a new option.

Resmed announced they have added a Softgel interface to their line of masks. This will allow for a comfortable fit for patients who need a little more support to their masks.

For people who have had their machines for 5 years or longer many insurance companies will replace older machines, however they may require you to re-qualify by having another sleep study to prove you still have sleep apnea. Mask, hoses, filters and other equipment are replaced every 3 to 6 months but most people have to call their equipment provider to ask for these to be replaced. If a CPAP user wants a new mask most likely they will have to ask their doctor for a new prescription. Masks generally are not interchangeable. Once you choose a mask you must get a new prescription to change it. The same is true for a humidifier. If a person does not get a heated humidifier when they initially get their machine they must get a prescription and may even need another sleep study in order to get one.

Once you have started on CPAP therapy staying current with the changes in equipment may help in keeping a user compliant with care.

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The Year of Change for Sleep Techs

Posted by amykr on December 23, 2008

published at http://www.advanceforsleep.com
Published December 22, 2008 3:02 PM by Amy Reavis

As a respiratory therapist and as a sleep tech, I do not think I have ever seen a year with as many changes as this year has brought us.

We started the year on the right note. We knew that competitive bid was coming. Then came the issue of home sleep studies. Following closely on its heals was licensure and respiratory credentials for sleep technicians. And just when you thought we had enough curve balls to handle, the economy tanked and people could no longer afford their co-pays or lost their jobs and their insurance.

I have had many friends and know several labs that were affected by all this change. It is a lot to take in. Many people I know have ignored it or believe that it will not affect them.

As a whole, sleep does not have a strong advocacy group. We have the AAST but many people do not belong. We also have a large group of respiratory therapists who belong to the AARC, which has a much stronger voice.

You do not see state associations in and very few regional ones. I know living in Florida there are two regional associations but then it seems they are competing with each other for members.

We do have some great highlights though. We have several professional magazines, one really phenomenal message board, binarysleep.com, many people who are creating CEU and college programs to teach sleep in a formal setting, and many truly dynamic people who are bringing our profession to a whole new level.

I remember when respiratory was going through the same issues. There were many people who were trained via on the job training; we had credentials but we were not licensed. Those of us who got our AAS degrees were asked why. Why take the RRT? Why worry when we are needed?

I believed in the field of respiratory and was very passionate about it. And I encouraged people to get their credentials because eventually we would be licensed. When that day came, I lost several co-workers because they refused to take the test. I remember all of this and I see history repeating itself.

This is why I know that sleep will do well. Because history shows that these young medical fields are important and that as we grow and change we not only survive but thrive.

I challenge every tech out there to do something great for our field this year. If we work together, publish papers, create state societies, or help new technicians, we will be a strong and healthy profession.

posted by Amy Reavis

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Snoring and a Restful Sleep

Posted by amykr on December 22, 2008

With greater research going on we are finding new reasons why people are tired during the day.  A research study was publish in the Chest magazine compared daytime sleepiness in snoring patients as it related to obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.  The findings were not necessarily what were expected.

 

The conclusion was that snoring independently affects daytime sleepiness and was not related to sleep apnea.  What does this mean?  It can mean many things.  It can mean that snoring itself needs to be taken seriously as it can cause an increase in the level of fatigue a person feels.   When a person experiences increased fatigue the chances of a work related accident or car accident will happen.  There is still the chance that the person has sleep apnea which has its own set of issues.  And finally the feeling of well being overall is very important and the need for a good nights sleep is necessary.

 

If you find that you are snoring take an Epworth test.  It will give you a good idea how tired you are and if you need to talk to your physician about sleep.

 

 

Sleep Disorder Screening Questionnaire

 

Please complete and return to your physician

 

Name:________________________________                     Date:_______

 

 

How likely are you to doze off or fall asleep in the following situations?

 

0 = would never doze

1 = slight chance of dozing

2 = moderate chance of dozing

3 = high chance of dozing

 

Circle the appropriate number

Situation

Chance of dozing

Sitting and reading

     0    1      2       3

Watching TV

     0    1      2       3

Sitting, inactive in a public place (e.g., a theater or meeting)

     0    1      2       3

As a passenger in a car for an hour without a break

     0    1      2       3

Lying down to rest in the afternoon when circumstances permit

     0    1      2       3

Sitting and talking to someone

     0    1      2       3

Sitting quietly after lunch, without alcohol

     0    1      2       3

In a car, while stopped for a few minutes in traffic

     0    1      2       3

 

                                                                                             Total from above: _____ (>9?)

________________________________________________________________________

 

Do you often feel sleepy during the daytime?                  Yes     No

 

Do you snore, or has anyone ever told you that you snore?         Yes     No

 

Has anyone ever told you that you stop breathing during sleep? Yes     No

 

Do you ever have a choking or gasping sensation during sleep? Yes     No

 

Do your legs ‘kick’ during sleep?                                               Yes    No

 

 

Return form to your physician

 

 

 

 

Malin Svensson, MD, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Akademiska sjukhuset, SE 751 85 Uppsala, Sweden;.  2008;134(5):919-924.  ©2008 American College of Chest Physicians

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Fear of the Dreaded Deductible

Posted by amykr on December 20, 2008

There are only two more weeks left to the year and the dreaded fear of the deductible has arisen. This condition involves the realization that the new year not only brings resolutions and fresh commitments but a large financial goose egg known as the insurance deductible. This large sum of money due at the beginning of each year for healthcare expenses although is known is quite frequently unplanned for.

So I started getting the frantic phone calls this week to try and get their tests completed and billed before years end. The issues are difficult because many doctors take vacation the last weeks of the month. We do however want to help those who need it. And will try to schedule people as quickly as possible for the study. But really what we need to do is plan for the deductible so that it will not affect our healthcare.

Every year on January 1 I have a $3000 expense that involves my deductible and my son’s medication. The medication company knows this and I know this. I try to order my last does of the year as close to the end of the month as possible so I do not have deal with this right after the holidays. I also have a savings account to save for this. Each month I a small portion to this amount. This helps. I also work with the drug company to do monthly payment plans usually I will have about $1500 in the bank account and then I pay the rest off in monthly payments. So how does this pertain to you?

Well this year many people have had an increase in their deductible, and like me they had to meet their deductible twice in a 6 month period because their company changed insurers. If you need care do not hesitate to work with the people who are providing your care. Sometimes if you pay in cash up front they will give you a discount over what you would pay with your insurer. Look into care credit. It is a medical credit card that will help you to cover your shortfall. If worse comes to worse contact your local hospital’s social work department. They might have suggestions of where you might be able to get affordable care until you have met your deductible. The important thing is to make sure you get the care you need.

Your health is the one thing that when you loose there is no amount of money that will replace it. So I hope everyone has a healthy and happy holiday.

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