Successful management of pediatric patients in the sleep center
Tips on how to manage pediatric patients in the sleep center
Sleep problems are some of the most common problems parents face with their kids. A common challenge parents often face is wondering how to get their children to sleep through the night.
We spoke to Joel Porquez, who has an extensive background in treating young patients for sleep disorders.
A little bit more about Joel
Joel Porquez, RST,RPSGT, is the founder & principal of Sleepkidzzz: Technical Pediatric Sleep Consulting LLC. He is an experienced polysomnographer with an educational background including a Doctor of Medicine degree from the Philippines. Over the past 10 years, Joel has lectured in pediatric courses, Physician Board Reviews, Technologist Board Reviews, Technologists A-Step Programs, and pediatric scoring classes. The majority of teaching endeavors have been in affiliation with the Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine & Technology and at local, regional, and national conferences. He is a published author in medical journals, guest lecturer at Georgia State University, Editorial Advisory Board Member for Sleep Review Journal, and Technical Board Member for the Georgia Association of Sleep Professionals. Joel has also worked in sleep research, participating in numerous pharmaceutical protocols. He has worked for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for over 6 years where he continues to expand his knowledge and remain focused on the pediatric age group at a technical level. He also maintains his skill set in adult sleep at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, GA. Joel has been an American Heart Association BLS Instructor since 2012. He was recently elected to the AAST Board of Directors as a Director at Large.
Here is our Q+A with Joel:
1. What are some tips to set up and monitor pediatric patients?
Joel: I always advise technologist's to know the age of the patient and the reason for the sleep study. If one has access to the medical history even better. Knowing this will assist the pediatric sleep technologist on how to set up, prepare mentally, and manage the pediatric patient throughout the evening.
2. How different is it to handle the pediatric population compared to adult patients?
Joel: First of all not everyone is cut out to work with the pediatric age group. The age of the child, illness, presence of a caregiver and the technologist's experience level working with children are all aspects that can test one's patience and ability. This may affect sleep study outcomes and test results, or possibly increase the number of "repeat" sleep studies. The mere small size alone can be frightening.
3. What are some ways you make sure that parents understand sleep disorder treatment options?
Joel: This is usually initiated by the sleep center performing pediatric sleep studies and the sleep physician. If parents ask questions about possible treatment options then the technologist can assess the parents knowledge and ask questions like, what do you know about adenotonsillectomy or what has your physician discussed with you as possible treatment options? Then the technologist can further explain and provide information based on what the parents know or what they have been told.
4. What are some of the unique challenges to working with the pediatric population?
Joel: Almost every pediatric lecture I've attended emphasized "not to treat these patients as little adults." I think one can formulate a good idea from that statement alone. There are different techniques for placing electrodes, extra equipment that is needed, as well as scoring differences for pediatric studies.
5. Can you give me an overview of some of the most frequently seen sleep disorders that affect the pediatric population?
Joel: American Academy of Pediatrics came out with a statement several years ago that every child with restless sleep and snoring should be properly evaluated. Restless sleep and snoring due to possible enlarged adenoids and/or tonsils is a good start. In addition to childhood obesity, these indications are enough to keep a sleep center busy.
Want to learn more about getting more pediatric patients in your practice? Check out the AAST's CEC-eligible online module on Pediatrics: How to Grow it and What to Know.