Empower Patients for a Better Night
Medical procedures make us feel out of control. In the sleep lab this is truly evident. Most patients are given minimal information about sleep disorders and about what to expect during a sleep study. This will make them feel they have very little control. Now add on top of that a machine that is supposed to help them to breathe, something that most people do not think about.
So if you give your patients a hand in helping in their care, then you are empowering them. When I start orienting a patient on CPAP I let them hold the mask. I show them how the cushions work and let them feel the air with their hand. I then have them bring it to their face. Again they have the control. I explain that until it is sealed over their face the machine will want to pressurize the room. That seems to always appeal to the engineers we have in the lab.
When doing the set up for the PSG I always let the patient have the job of dropping the leads down for the legs and for adjusting the leads for the EKG. I also ask them to help with the belts. I tell them this is the most work they will do during the test. Just allowing them that little bit of work, lets them feel like they are in control of the situation.
No matter how you do it, giving your patient the sense that they are empowered and are able to control their environment will help them sleep better and adapt to the CPAP better.