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By: Brendan Duffy on April 6th, 2016

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6 Things Sleep Centers Should Discuss with Patients Prior to A Sleep Study

Sleep Technologist Advice


There are many things a patient is told prior to their overnight sleep study, but there are a few additional items that you may wish to review 

Giving your patients as much information as you can puts their mind at ease and helps you get better test results as the patient is well informed and can relax.  After all, they are there for testing-not surprises!  And when it comes to their health, they certainly want as much information as we can provide.

This is a list off of the top of my head as to some of the items that we need to remember to share. Perhaps you can think of a few others! One of these items could even save lives in the event of an emergency. So be sure to make sure you are a “better than average” technologist by reviewing these items with your sleep center guests!

What sleep center patients should know before their sleep study

 Emergency Exits

It is super important to know the location of and review the policy for emergencies that may occur during testing.  In a strange environment such as a sleep center, patients will need to know BEFOREHAND how and when to exit the testing facility.   This is one area that rarely if ever is discussed when I speak with sleep center managers or technologists.

Sleep Testing Cost

medical costsMake sure that the costs of the testing and the doctor’s visits are discussed PRIOR to the testing! Too often a patient will receive a bill from a facility and be upset that the charges were not clearly explained prior to the testing.  Each facility should be able to give at least a ballpark figure as to what a test costs.  It is also important to make sure they are aware whether the sleep physician is also in their plan as sometimes the testing facility, or hospital may be in network- but the sleep physician may not be.

Parents Must Stay With Pediatric Patients

Some parents are surprised to learn they cannot leave the testing facility while their child is being tested. They sometimes believe they can go home and return in the morning. This is especially true if the child is a high school age patient.  We often have to explain that they must remain at the facility at all times until the test is over.  Of course if we have an extra bedroom, we will try and let them use the extra room as long as we know they are available and in the sleep center if we need them.


medication200Some patients arrive without taking medications and assume that the sleep center staff (especially in a hospital) will provide, or administer, their medications or daily treatments.  Make sure they either bring their medications or take them before they arrive at the center.  They also need to remember to bring their morning medications. This is really important if they are arriving from another health care facility as the caregiver that comes with them will need to make sure these medications are available.  Many patients incorrectly assume that sleep technologists are allowed to perform nursing care and secure and administer medications.  I tell them to bring things that they might need including an aspirin as we can’t even give them a Tylenol! (And even if we could it probably would give them a new headache when they got the bill for the Tylenol!)

Any Change Of Insurance Prior To Testing

On occasion a sleep study might be scheduled out a few weeks and an insurance authorization obtained prior to the study.  If the insurance that authorized the study is “dropped” or “switched” prior to testing, the patient needs to call and make sure that the new insurance will authorize testing. They cannot show up on testing night with a new card and expect the sleep technologist to confirm that the insurance is valid and acceptable and does not require prior authorization.

Durable Medical Equipment (DME)

Many patients do not go home with CPAP equipment in the morning after testing.  It is quite common for the DME to deliver equipment a week or so after testing.  Make sure your patient is aware that the results of their study needs to be reviewed by the sleep physician and then the CPAP mask and/or machine will be ordered and delivered!

By providing these informative nuggets to your patients, you will help them concentrate on their sleep and not these items.  And if the test goes better, the patient gets better!   Hope it helps!

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