Every patient referred to CHI-PAP for a sleep-related concern receives a comprehensive evaluation with a board-certified sleep physician at CommunityHealth. Most patients are appropriate for ongoing care within the CHI-PAP program. But occasionally patients may be referred to an outside clinic for more advanced forms of testing and/or respiratory support.
Patients for whom home sleep testing is deemed appropriate undergo at-home testing using a home testing device provided by CHI-PAP. Study results are interpreted by one of CommunityHealth's sleep physicians, and results are discussed with the patient at their follow-up visit.
For patients with newly diagnosed obstructive sleep apnea, we provide education, counseling, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) equipment and supplies so that patients can start treating their sleep apnea and sleeping better as soon as possible. To accomplish this, we rely on donations of CPAP devices and unused CPAP supplies from the community, which has the added benefit of extending the lifetime of CPAP devices and thereby decreasing electronic and medical supply waste.
Patients started on CPAP therapy through the CHI-PAP program are provided with long-term follow-up for management of their sleep disorders at CommunityHealth. Follow-up includes review of CPAP SD card data and adjustments to therapy, when indicated, as well as ongoing management of non-respiratory sleep conditions (e.g. chronic insomnia).
CommunityHealth isn't your average free clinic. The space is inviting, and the care is both patient-centered and comprehensive, meaning that patients can get primary, specialty, and dental care (along with other health services such as physical and occupational therapy) under one roof. This concept is known as a "Medical Home," and we couldn't be more excited about adding Sleep Medicine to CommunityHealth's available services.
Most sleep studies these days can be done in the comfort of a person's home. Unfortunately, this option is often not available for low-resource individuals leading to delays in diagnosing conditions like sleep apnea. One of the aims of the CHI-PAP project is to expand the availability of home sleep testing to CommunityHealth patients by operating a fleet of refurbished home testing devices, with study results interpreted by one of the CHI-PAP sleep physicians.
Even for insured patients, the process for getting a CPAP device and all the supplies that go with it can feel punishing. Traditionally, the situation has been even worse for low-resource patients who have had to navigate additional administrative obstacles in order to get CPAP equipment or were excluded from traditional care pathways altogether. Utilizing a combination of donated, recycled/refurbished devices/equipment, and 3D printing, the CHI-PAP program is completely rethinking the way patients get CPAP supplies.
The CHI-PAP mission of providing comprehensive sleep health care to all who need it acknowledges that some patients will require referral to another institution for higher level of diagnostic testing or care. CHI-PAP provides a comprehensive initial sleep evaluation for referred patients, followed by triage to the either the CHI-PAP testing/care pathway or (when in-lab sleep testing and/or advanced respiratory support is needed) an external sleep center capable of providing the needed services.