Could you imagine starting a new therapy with no hands-on guidance?
It would be so difficult to learn the intricacies of something this foreign without the step-by-step direction from a professional. This is why Breathe Medical, first and foremost, takes patient care and PAP therapy seriously and provides an excellent support system with patients and respiratory therapists.
Respiratory therapist setups are one-on-one directly with the patient, usually in a patient’s home, in order to familiarize the patient with the entire PAP therapy setup that they need to get used to. A one-on-one setup covers the following topics:
- What Sleep Apnea & AHI Is
- Type of PAP Therapy & Usage
- Mask Types
- Patient Mask Preference
- Taking Care of Your Equipment
- Cleaning Schedule
- Replacing Supplies
What is Sleep Apnea & AHI?
For most people, sleep apnea doesn’t mean much besides snoring during sleep. However, ignoring the signs or symptoms of snoring, daytime drowsiness, or restless sleep can lead to serious long-term consequences. The respiratory therapist will dive into the potential consequences of untreated sleep apnea and how patient can combat the negative consequences. The goal of giving patients a better night of sleep will also be measured with AHI.
AHI (apnea-hypopnea index) is represented by the number of apnea and hypopnea events per hour of sleep – basically, whenever your breathing stops or slows down to abnormal levels all adds up to AHI levels that can range from nearly zero to severe. The lower the AHI, the better the patient’s circumstances will be.
- 0 – 4: Normal
- 5 – 14: Mild
- 15 – 29: Moderate
- Greater than or Equal to 30: Severe
Types of PAP Therapy & Usage
The most common machine dispensed for obstructive sleep apnea is the CPAP machine. A BiPAP machine may also be dispensed for obstructive sleep apnea if the patient is unable to tolerate CPAP therapy. An ASV machine is dispensed for central and complex sleep apnea.
The goal is to have the patient use their machine at least 6-8 hours per night. Continuous usage at 6-8 hours per night is the only way someone will see positive PAP therapy results.
The machines and equipment are all designed with a patient’s comfort and treatment in mind, so the respiratory therapist will guide everyone through the useful features and cloud technology that comes with modern CPAP machines. Notable features of PAP therapy machines include:
- Heated Humidifier
- MyAir/Dream Mapper Reports
- Auto Ramp/Ramp Features
- Run Mask Fit Test
- Airplane Mode
Mask Type & Preference
The entire setup will take about 1 hour. The respiratory therapist will begin with a series of questions to help determine the type of mask that will best suit the patient.
Once the type of mask has been chosen, the respiratory therapist will guide each patient through assembly and disassembly of the machine and equipment. One of the most important aspects of effective PAP therapy is cleaning the equipment for optimal functionality, so the RT will go through daily and weekly cleaning guidelines.
- Wipe down the mask with a damp towel, submerge it in a mild detergent and warm water to remove any debris, oil, or sweat that could prevent a good seal, then wipe it with a clean towel and let it air-dry.
- For your water chamber, empty any leftover water each morning and refill it with more distilled water to keep your humidifier fresh and prevent any mineral buildup.
- If you’re sick, clean your equipment DAILY to eliminate the germs.
- Wash your water chamber in the sink with mild soapy water and let it air-day before putting it back on the machine.
- Use ammonia-free mild detergent to get rid of dust, bacteria, and any other germs from tubing, mask, and headgear by submerging them in a mild detergent and warm water for 5 minutes. Thoroughly rinse the equipment before letting it air-dry and hanging the tubing to let all the excess water out.
- Do not place your equipment in direct sunlight to avoid accelerated deterioration of the equipment.
- Be sure to make cleaning a regular part of your morning to give enough time for your equipment to air-dry before bedtime!
Replacing Your Supplies
The most vital aspect of effective PAP therapy is replacing the equipment before the wear and tear prevents optimum treatment in your nightly usage goals. The usual replacement guideline will be the following:
Every 1 Month:
- Mask Cushion
Every 3 Months:
- Mask & Headgear
- CPAP Tubing
Every 6 Months:
- Mask & Headgear
- CPAP Tubing
- Water Chamber
Bottom Line: We want to make sure you are fully equipped to start your PAP therapy off on the right foot, so these one-on-one respiratory therapist setups are solely for the patients to benefit from a solid PAP therapy foundation with a knowledgeable professional.