Tip for CPAP users

Submitted by Jerry Halberstadt on Mon, 10/06/2008 - 15:55

Here's an idea for action that can save you a lot of grief later in the event you lose your CPAP, or it is broken, or if you have any treatment problems. If you know that a CPAP is a device to treat sleep apnea, then you probably need to know this tip.

We get a lot of phone calls from desperate people living with sleep apnea. They have a CPAP device that isn't working or that they have difficulty using. They have no idea whom to call for help and hope that our 800 number will be the answer. We can't help because in any local area there may be several home care providers, any of which may be responsible for their service; and of course we can't provide medical advice. And while our book might be helpful to them, they are interested in a quick fix, often involving specific equipment, and their own specific prescription.

To solve their problems, they need to locate the home care provider, their sleep specialist, or their primary care physician for specific medical care--but they don't have a name or a phone number.

I find it disturbing is that a health care professional, or a medical service company did not make it easy for a customer, their patient, to contact them for help. For example, my CPAP has a stuck-on label identifying the home care company with their 800 phone. Unfortunately, not everyone involved in patient care does the right thing. That's another reason that people living with apnea need to be proactive.

So here's the idea: today, take time to locate the name and contact number of:

your primary care physician;
your sleep specialist;
and the company (home care, durable medical equipment) that provides and services your CPAP.

For good measure, make a list of the brand, model, and serial number of your CPAP and the details of the humidifier, mask, and a copy of your prescription, so that in time of need (fire, flood, loss, breakage) you can quickly replace the treatment setup.

Make several copies.

Put one copy in the carry case for your CPAP;
put one copy in your night stand;
write the key numbers on a label on the CPAP; and
keep a copy with your important personal papers.

You may never need to use this information, but having it can keep you from losing sleep.