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Adventures in Sleep

Non-Compliance 'R' Us

Published August 25, 2011 7:36 AM by Penny Mehaffey

NON-COMPLIANT: Failure or refusal to comply, or in the medical community it can be the degree to which a person follows medical advice. 

Is it just me, or are we sleep magnets for/to the non-compliant?  I had a person today make me laugh out loud.  We called her to schedule a repeat titration study and she refused the appointment saying she wasn't coming back, she couldn't sleep with that thing on, and she wasn't going to wear it.

The caring professional that I am, I immediately engaged into fix mode. Why was she unable to sleep, I asked. Was it the wires or the mask?  No, she slept fine the first night. "But it was that mask; it was too big and too heavy'" she explained.

"We have many types of masks to try..." "No." She said, she "couldn't sleep at all with that stuff on."

"Well, we can give you something to help you sleep..." "No," she said, "I'm taking enough pills already."

"I understand," I said, "but you really need your CPAP.  Your study showed you stop breathing 50 times an hour."  "No," she said, "that's not right." "Yes it is," I countered. "Nope, it's wrong," she said, adding, "I'm not going to wear that thing!"

"You should really talk to your doctor before you make up your mind," says I. "I will," she said, "I have an appointment next week." 

When oh when will I learn to leave well enough alone?  A wise mentor once said to me, "We can't always fix everybody." So true. 

I had another patient tell me he was not coming for his titration study and "as a matter of fact you can come pick up this machine you sent out here."  He was in his eighties and all I could say was, "yes sir."

 Not everyone is able to tolerate CPAP. It's a fact. Accept that when you run across these individuals. It's not a failure on our part. It is up to the patient to decide what they can do or not do. Wouldn't it be so much simpler though if we could just wear the CPAP for them?

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    Adventures in Sleep
    Occupation: Sleep technicians
    Setting: Various sleep facilities
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