When a patient is diagnosed with sleep apnea, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine may be prescribed. This is a standard treatment option for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) that requires a patient to wear a mask connected to the machine while sleeping to keep their airway open. OSA can cause or worsen other diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and diabetes. Compliance is crucial for patients who have been diagnosed to treat their sleep apnea and for their overall health. Yet we see many patients still have trouble consistently using their machine while sleeping.
Our sleep coaches and respiratory specialists work with patients to find the best mask for them and share tips they recommend for desensitizing patients to the treatment. In addition to our help, there are a few ways partners can help their partner to use a CPAP machine, especially during the first few weeks of use.
Ultimately, using a CPAP should be the patient’s decision, but encouraging your partner to use the machine can help. Please encourage them to use it during all sleep; however, they may need to increase their use slowly over the first few weeks to become accustomed to it. Talking about it with your partner can help them stick with it as they get used to the machine.
Help with Instructions
When setting up the machine, our respiratory therapists explain each piece and walk our patients through using the machine. Attending this appointment or letting your partner teach you how the machine works can help, this might also mean helping them remember to clean the machine and troubleshoot as needed.
Find a Routine
Figure out a nighttime routine that works for you both. Adding the CPAP to you and your partner’s bedtime routine is important. If you typically go to bed at the same time, continue with a regular routine, lay down, read or talk, and then your partner can put on their mask before turning out the light for the night. If the noise of the machine is bothersome, a fan or white noise machine can help block out the noise.
Seek out Help
We are here to help you and your partner! Our staff has several options they can use to improve your partner’s use of the machine or adjust your supplies. Over 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, while many of those may be undiagnosed, it is a rising problem for millions. There are online support groups available that may help your partner meet others who are undergoing similar issues.
A CPAP machine is the most effective treatment for treating obstructive sleep apnea, but it can take time for your partner to adapt to the machine. It may take a few weeks for some or months for others, but slow and steady progress can help get your partner’s sleep disorder under control so you both can get a restful night’s sleep.
Patients must find a treatment that works for them to treat their sleep disorder. CPAP works for a lot of patients, but there are other options for those who cannot tolerate it. If your partner is struggling with their treatment, then contact our office at 502.963.0487.