What Are You Doing To Educate Patients?
Educating patients about good sleep hygiene and proper care and feeding of their CPAP machine is just not something done by DME companies. It is our responsibility as sleep techs to do this at the first exposure so that patients understand how to improve their lives and why sleep is important.
As part of our lab's initial education, we show a video and give handouts. While we are doing the polysomnography set-up, we explain to patients what we are doing and why we are testing for each of these parameters. If the patient understands what we are looking for and why, then they will understand how each of these parameters affects their sleep. It is a short lesson on multiple sleep disorders. You also can share how they are treated so the patient understands that there are many different disorders that are treated multiple ways.
When you are helping to get patients ready for bed, do you explain about sleep routines and how important they are? We give each patient a sleep tips sheet when they leave the next morning. I also create a quarterly newsletter that reminds people about good sleep habits.
Using some examples from your life may also be helpful to your patient. I may be overweight but I can tell you that doing yoga for 10 minutes every night and every morning will change your body and your life. When I started, I could reach just below my knees and had to adjust many of the positions. Now I can touch my toes, have less back pain, and have seen my body lean out.
If you are looking for ideas to add to your sleep routine there are many great places to look. I use About.com for exercise and yoga routines. I sign up for newsletters from people I respect. Do an internet search for a person and you will find out if they have a blog or website. Or better yet: create one of your own. The more information we get out there, the more correct information our patients will get.
We need to be the resource that our patients turn to when they have questions. It is what will create a profession we can be proud of. When we create value for the doctors and patients, we create our own job stability. The more we share our successes with other technicians the stronger our field becomes.
Share with us what you do to educate your patients!
Editor's Note: Looking for handouts to help your patients? Check out our collection of sleep disorders testing and treatment patient handouts at: http://respiratory-care-sleep-medicine.advanceweb.com/Article/Sleep-Patient-Education-Handouts.aspx