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By: Brendan Duffy, RPSGT, RST, CCSH on October 14th, 2021

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What’s in Your Wallet?

Sleep Disorders | CCSH

“What’s in your wallet?” This is a popular refrain from a television commercial touting the benefits of a credit card. It promises that the card holder is ready for all situations that require some access or assistance for a situation at hand. As certified clinical sleep health (CCSH) educators, we too must be able to reach into our “knowledge” wallet and use the right “knowledge card” to assist and work with our patients. The information in the “Incidence & Prevalence of Sleep Disorders” module of the AAST CCSH Designated Education Program Recorded Modules will assist you to acquire this knowledge base.

There are over 70 different sleep disorders and it has been documented that 70% of adults report insufficient sleep at least one night a month. In addition, 11% of adults report poor sleep every night, and it is estimated that 50-70 million people have chronic disorders of sleep and wakefulness. Many of these people are unaware, undiagnosed and untreated. So how do we assist these people? How do we create awareness?

As CCSH educators, we have educated ourselves above and beyond our vast knowledge of sleep apnea and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment. We have reviewed, studied and gained knowledge about other major sleep disorders such as insomnia. We have become familiar with all of the tools that are used to evaluate sleep issues. These include tools for initial assessment, such as sleep diaries and a multitude of sleep questionnaires from all over the world that can be utilized depending on the situation.

How familiar are you with the Swiss Narcolepsy Scale, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, the Insomnia Severity Index and the Munich Chronotype Questionnaire? Are you aware that there is a separate Epworth Sleepiness Scale that is specific for pediatric patients?  

The module, which is the fourth one in the recorded program, will help you to understand all of the sleep disorders that may be experienced by patients. It will enable you to utilize the right tools for the right situation. After all, as someone once said, “If you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” We need many tools. We all need to continue to expand our professional knowledge base throughout our careers so we can serve our community and provide solid knowledge and awareness to our patients. This also opens other job opportunities in the sleep field for example as sleep coaches and sleep navigators.

In preparing this module, I believed that with all my time in sleep medicine (over 20 years!), this would be a review of what I already knew. Much to my surprise, I uncovered several questionnaires and tools that I was unaware of! I now am more confident in speaking about these assessment tools as well as other sleep disorders that we do not often see in the sleep centers.

Sleep medicine is changing rapidly. Opportunities are available for those who have the skills, knowledge, and the” hustle to take advantage of the information they can provide to patients. So when someone has a sleep question, a sleep disorder, or you are working with a patient and they ask you, “What’s in your wallet?” I hope you can confidently reply, “My CCSH card!"

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