Initial Set-Up of PAP Devices
Ultreia Health provides services and equipment for the initial set up of CPAP, BIPAP, or adaptive pressure ventilation. In addition, replacement PAP devices and set up services are also offered. The use of PAP therapy for treatment of sleep apnea is typically covered by most health insurance companies and requires medical necessity (a diagnosis qualifying for the use of the therapy), and a prescription for the treatment.
Initial set up on a PAP device takes place in the Ultreia Health office and involves getting to know the patient, understanding their symptoms and diagnosis, including sleep study results, identifying and addressing barriers to treatment as well as motivating factors for use, choosing the best mask interface for the patient, and instruction on use and care of the PAP device. In addition, time is spent explaining what to expect from the treatment and answering questions about the therapy. Help is also available for explaining the costs of treatment, insurance coverage of treatment expenses, and determining a patient’s financial responsibilities of the therapy costs.
Though PAP equipment can be obtained through various online PAP stores, there is significant value in an in-office set up that includes developing relationships that facilitate use of the therapy, expertise in mask fitting, and establishing a resource for help and encouragement with the treatment going forward. There is an office charge for the initial set up that also covers some monitoring activities related to the treatment.
Monitoring of PAP Treatment
The use of technology to monitor PAP device use and effectiveness of treatment is widespread and should be a part of a comprehensive treatment plan for patients on PAP therapy. Engaging patients in self-monitoring and care can be encouraged by the use of technology such as smart phone apps. Increasingly, insurance companies paying for PAP treatment of sleep apnea will monitor use of the PAP devices and have minimum use standards for continuing to cover and pay for the PAP treatment.
Ultreia Health is committed to the successful use of PAP by our patients. Device data is used to monitor use of the equipment, and to help in the early identification of treatment issues so that help can be provided. Early intervention in patients who are struggling with the treatment helps to reduce frustration with the therapy that may result in a patient quitting use of the device.
In addition, Ultreia Health therapists monitor treatment at lengthening intervals using email communication, patient portal questionnaires, and phone calls. Links to website information can be provided to patients to address specific treatment problems that they may be having. Virtual visits with Ultreia Health respiratory therapists using telemedicine technology provides a convenient alternative to in office visits to address treatment issues or problems that may arise.
PATIENTS WHO ARE STRUGGLING OR HAVE FAILED PAP
It is widely estimated that 50% or more of patients will either quit using PAP therapy that has been prescribed to them, or use it only occasionally. There are many reasons patients do not use PAP therapy as prescribed. This includes not understanding the sleep apnea diagnosis they have been given, questioning the accuracy of test results, having a bad initial experience with PAP that may include poor mask selection or uncomfortable pressure settings, and not understanding what to expect from the treatment. Whatever the barrier(s) may be for the use of the equipment, treatment of obstructive sleep apnea is important. If you have failed PAP therapy in the past, or are struggling with the treatment currently, help is readily available at Ultreia Health.
The word “ultreia” is derived from the older Galic language and means to “not give up’” to “keep going,” and to “press onward,” and was spoken as encouragement to pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. At Ultreia Health, resources (people, programs) are available to help those who have failed with PAP therapy, or who are currently struggling, be successful with the treatment. PAP success is achievable even for those with prominent anxiety, and claustrophobia, and for those whom the therapy seems untolerable. The staff at Ultreia Health recognize that there are some patients who may require resources outside the organization (cognitive behavioral therapy, medications) to be successful, including other treatment options for sleep apnea, and can help direct you to proper interventions for successful treatment of sleep apnea if it appears that a non-PAP therapy is the proper choice.
Your PAP device is designed to last many years with proper use and care. Most health insurance companies will pay for a new device every five years though it is important to check with your health insurance carrier to determine their replacement guidelines. Because of rapid technological advances, replacing your device every 5 years is reasonable, though an older device does not require replacement just because of age. With good care, devices may last more than 10 years.
Mask components, tubing, humidifier chambers, and device filters require regular replacement to maximize treatment comfort and effectiveness and to reduce risks for potential infections. Health insurers have established specific replacement time tables that guide their coverage of these items. Ultreia Health is able to help you determine the frequency with which the various supplies can be replaced. Supplies as needed can be mailed to your home (shipping charges apply), or can be picked up at the Ultreia Health office during normal business hours. Questions about replacing supplies, and insurance coverage of, and your financial responsibility for, the supplies can be directed to Ultreia Health staff.
Ultreia Health provides services for replacement of PAP devices for patients needing to update their treatment, or whose devices are no longer functioning properly. PAP devices obtained from Ultreia Health that are under warranty and that are defective will be replaced, or repaired, depending on the device manufacturer’s warranty coverage. A prescription for a PAP device is needed if equipment is being updated. Ultreia Health staff can help you with determining whether a new device will be covered under your health insurer’s replacement guidelines and whether sleep testing will be needed to satisfy the insurer’s medical necessity requirements. An appointment with the Ultreia Health treatment specialist is typically arranged to go over use and care of the new device, and mask updating and re-fitting can also be done during that visit.
Speciality PAP Items
A variety of specialty PAP items are available to patients to improve convenience of treatment, or in some individuals, to facilitate more comfortable and effective treatment. This includes wipes to clean and refresh masks and devices, chin straps to reduce mouth leak, and specialty pillows that can facilitate sleep for some patients with fewer mask problems. In addition, positioning devices to reduce sleep in the supine position can be purchased.
Travel PAP Devices and Supplies
The nightly use of PAP therapy for treating sleep apnea is important to maximize the health and quality of life gains associated with the treatment. When traveling away from home, it is recommended that the PAP device be taken with you so that treatment is not interrupted. Traveling with your PAP device creates some challenges such as another bag to carry, airport security, and destination power supply and set up. For some individuals traveling with their device is perceived as too much trouble and they leave their PAP machine at home. To help address some of these issues, manufacturers have released travel models of CPAP that address the size the device to make travel with PAP more convenient. Several models have been released recently that significantly improve the travel experience with CPAP. Typically these travel devices are a patient’s second device, and health insurer’s do not usually provide coverage for this additional machine. If you have a prescription for a PAP device on file at Ultreia Health, a new prescription for the travel CPAP is not needed. Stop by Ultreia Health to check out our travel devices to see if owning one is right for you. Travel smart. Travel rested. Travel PAP.