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Blog Feature

By: Bonnie Robertson, RPSGT, CCSH on June 22nd, 2017

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Sleep Health?  What does that mean exactly?

sleep health and the AAST

Working with patients who have sleep concerns can be very challenging but very rewarding.  We have the unique opportunity to not only assist in the initial identification and evaluation, diagnosis, and the recommended treatment; we can also use our skills, our talents, our knowledge, and our abilities to help each patient develop and hone sleep self-management skills.


Sleep Apnea Self-Management Education

Through collaborative efforts, the American Association of Sleep Technologists is pleased to publish a standardized curriculum for healthcare professionals who assist patients with Sleep Apnea Self-Management Education (SASME).

This curriculum provides clear guidelines for patient education based on recommendations from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.  Patients with chronic illness require:

  • basic information about their disease
  • assistance with self-management skill building
  • ongoing support from the healthcare team

This standardized curriculum is a much needed tool that provides the elements for a comprehensive approach for each patient.  All non-physician healthcare providers can benefit from this tool and also may have a means for justifying the time and labor involved to provide this level of care.

So, how can you use this tool?

Take an opportunity to read through this curriculum.  How are you directly involved in patient care?  Are you the individual performing sleep testing?  Or perhaps, you are a clinician talking to the patient about CPAP therapy?

Sleep Health Education and the Patient 

sleep health patient education on sleep apnea

Anytime you meet with a patient, you have influence on them.  What you say, how you say it, and how you emphasize any piece of information will sway their own view of their chronic healthcare conditions and sleep problems.  Using this tool gives you important information about what to say, what to cover, what to emphasize. 

Do you know how a patient absorbs information?  Many individuals only hear a very limited portion of information that is shared.  They will need reinforcement: perhaps brochures, perhaps a website for reference, perhaps a support group. 

I know each and every one of you has met with a patient at some point in time and the patient said to you “no one has ever told me that” or “no one told me how my sleep apnea impacts my heart”.  We have all heard it.  That is why it requires every member of the healthcare team, every single one of us who talks with a patient and their family, to discuss these very important components of this curriculum.

I hope each of you takes this opportunity to use this tool to learn and grow professionally.  I know your patients will be the ones who will benefit significantly from your dedication to providing this information!

Good luck to each of you!  You are the ones who make Sleep Medicine what it is today and how wonderful it is to have industry-approved guidelines on how to help our patients improve their Sleep Health!