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On behalf of the AAST Board of Directors and staff, we extend our deepest concern and support to our members, colleagues, partners, and community impacted by the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. We understand there is a lot of fear and uncertainty right now, and we want to remind our community that we are all in this together, and we are here to support one another. 

AAST will continue to build out this webpage as a repository of resources for the sleep technologist community. If you have any questions, please send them to info@aastweb.org. Each week, the AAST team will review the submitted questions and develop a FAQ list. Click here to see the latest FAQ.

    AAST COVID-19 Town Hall Presentations

    Sleep Center Return to Work Resources During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Listen to AAST's Town Hall recorded on Thursday, July 23, 2020. While each state and facility continue to re-open, or expand services, all sleep centers are continuing to work toward providing safe care for their patients and staff. Sleep center managers and thought leaders in sleep technology from around the nation convened for another AAST Town Hall on July 23 to discuss updates on how to provide a safe environment for our staff and our patients in the sleep center. Panelists discussed strategies that sleep centers are using or planning to operate safely, provided some suggestions for screening patients and staff, discussed COVID-19 pre-testing strategies for sleep patients, and provided tips on how to maintain a clean environment in the sleep center.

    Click here to access the July 23 Town Hall Q&As

     

    Providing Sleep Center Services Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Listen to AAST's Town Hall recorded on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, discussing Providing Sleep Center Services Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

    This online discussion is for sleep center managers and staff who wish to avail themselves of some of the many ways sleep organizations are striving to keep their staff and patients safe during the sleep diagnosis, testing and follow-up process.

    Click here to access the May 26 Town Hall Q&As

     

    Sleep Related COVID-19 Resources

    The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) resource page provides information for sleep technologists that address the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

    Sleep technologists and clinicians are strongly advised to review the CDC's Infection Control information and CDC COVID-19 information, as well as their seek information from their local and state health departments.

    Risks and Precautions for Healthcare Workers During COVID-19

    Here are some precautions healthcare workers should take during the COVID-19 pandemic:

    For more information on these precautions, see our blog post "COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and Sleep Centers: Risks, Precautions, and Recommendations.

    Risks of Using CPAP/BiPAP

    There are risks when using CPAP, BPAP and other types of PAP equipment in patients with suspected or known cases of COVID-19.  

    The use of PAP may result in aerosolized exposure to the virus when positive airway pressure therapy or high-flow oxygen is used.  This may result in risk to the sleep technologist as well as lead to contamination of the room and further spread of the virus.  Many sleep centers are avoiding the use of PAP due to this risk.  For more information on these risks and the risks of continued PAP Therapy, see our blog post "COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and Sleep Centers: Risks, Precautions, and Recommendations.

    AASM COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies for Reopening

    The AASM has posted an updated advisory on re-opening strategies based on CDC recommendations. Additional guidance is available from state executive orders and reopening plans as well as local public health statements.

     

    Sleep Labs Post-Pandemic

    The Post-Pandemic Sleep Lab – A Joint Yale-Harvard-Baystate Sleep Conference

    Presented by: Karin Johnson, MD, Medical Director at the Baystate Health Regional Sleep Program and Baystate Medical Center Sleep Laboratory

    Learning Objectives:
    • To understand what we know about the potential spread of SARS-CoV2 by non-invasive ventilation
    • To make protocol to safely issue in reopening sleep labs during the pandemic
    • To understand potential reimbursement and supply issues in reopening sleep labs during the pandemic
    • To discuss possible changes to guidelines in the management of sleep patients based on limitations due to COVID-19

    Resources to Keep You Informed

    These resources have been gathered from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and other sites:

    Stress Management 

    Online and Mobile Mental Health Resources

    "Staying Sane and Current on COVID-19"
    Read the article on MedPageToday.

    Headspace

    Headspace offers everyday mindfulness and meditation resources for stress, anxiety, sleep, focus, fitness and more. Headspace is currently offering all US healthcare professionals who work in public health settings free access to Headspace Plus through 2020. Learn more here

    Talkspace

    Talkspace is a convenient way to connect with a licensed therapist — all from the privacy of your device. Talkspace recently launched The Talkspace Coronavirus Resource Hub, which includes features, videos, and tips from licensed therapists and experts on how to cope with the stress and adjust to the new realities presented by COVID-19. Additionally, Talkspace is devoted to providing 2,000 free months of therapy for impacted doctors, nurses, and social workers. Learn more here.

    For the Frontlines

    For the frontlines is offering free 24/7 crisis counseling and support for healthcare workers dealing with anxiety, stress, fear, isolation or other difficult emotions experienced during the COVID-19 response. Learn more here.

    Project Parachute 

    Project Parachute offers pro bono teletherapy for COVID-19 front lines healthcare workers. Learn more here.

    Sleep for Immunity, Mental and Physical Health to combat COVID-19

    Dr. Meeta Singh (MD), Dr. Michael Grandner (PhD) and Dr. Ian Dunican (PhD) discuss the importance of sleep for immunity, mental health and good physical health in this webinar recording.

    I Am Present

    Innder Explorer invites you to download the mindfulness app for families. The stressors in our lives are growing. Inner Explorer is offering an easy to use mindfulness program for free to support you and your family. This program is shown to reduce stress, boost immunity, improve learning, foster resilience. Learn more here

    Pandemic Dreams or COVID-19 Nightmares? (Self Isolation, Stress, and Sleep Hygiene)

    As we wait for a vaccine for COVID-19, many people are experiencing pandemic dreams, anxiety dreams, nightmares, or very vivid dreams. Read our blog post on these dreams and how to minimize stress and anxiety to improve sleep.

    Resources for Working Remotely

    The following articles from Harvard Business Review provide helpful information on effective remote work. 

    Statement from Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)

    The COVID-19 pandemic situation continues to present challenges to programs and to our Committees on Accreditation. As universities, colleges, and healthcare-based programs wrestle with the question of how much (or even whether) to open for the fall semester, issues such as student and faculty safety and well-being, securing clinical experiences, and which educational delivery model(s) to employ continue to dominate the conversation.

    CAAHEP understands that institutions, programs, and faculty members are working diligently to find ways to continue the education of their students during this difficult time. We have hosted regular ZOOM sessions with our Committees on Accreditation (CoAs) to share how they are dealing with these challenges and receive feedback on how we can better meet their needs. 

    We will continue to work collaboratively with our CoAs to explore alternative pathways to assure excellence in education while maintaining compliance with the Standards. We want to assure the CoAs (and the accredited programs) that we support all of their efforts to be flexible and innovative while continuing to assure that Standards are met. Whether it's virtual site visits, delaying deadlines for submission of annual reports or other short-term (or long-term) strategies to meet these goals, the CAAHEP Board of Directors expresses its firm support and gratitude for all of the creativity and hard work of our CoAs.

    We will get through this and we will likely benefit from many of the innovative strategies that our CoAs and accredited programs started as temporary necessities but may well become the “new normal.”

     

     

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