The Sleep Health Wellness Program
Five Simple Steps to Healthier, Safer Employees
Healthy sleep is vital to employee wellness and safety, but how can you implement a program for employees who live in different places, have different primary care physicians and maybe even different health insurance coverage?
The national Sleep Health Wellness Program has five simple steps to provide fully comprehensive care:
Information about healthy sleep can be provided to employees at their worksite using Sleep Education Workshops, or remotely through intranet, internet or mailings to their home. In addition to telling employees about the usual “risk factors”, the Sleep Health Wellness Program describes healthy sleep throughout our life stages, how to improve sleep environments at home, how to nap successfully and how to avoid drowsy driving.
In order to maximize participation rates in this voluntary program, the information and screening survey can be sent to the employees’ homes. Often, the symptoms are recognized by a spouse or bed partner because the employee is unaware of their snoring or nighttime behaviors. Standard screening surveys are accurate in predicting those people who should see a sleep specialist. At Sleep HealthCenters, our specialists are board certified in sleep medicine, pulmonology, neurology, internal medicine, dentistry, psychiatry and psychology.
Employees considered to be “at risk” can visit one of our state-of-the-art sleep centers and consult with a Sleep Specialist for a thorough review of their sleep health. If sleep monitoring is indicated, employees may be asked to spend a night sleeping in the home-like atmosphere of one of our sleep centers. Sleep HealthCenters has also been providing at-home testing for sleep apnea for over 10 years. All sleep studies are interpreted by our sleep specialists and reviewed with the patients. A report is also generated and forwarded to the patient’s primary care physician.
Depending on individual needs, treatment may include behavioral medicine, medications, respiratory devices or dental devices. The most common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is Positive Airway Pressure (PAP). PAP devices provide a constant flow of air to the patient through a mask in order to keep the airway open during sleep. Our patients receive the highest quality automatic-PAP devices which change pressure, minute-by-minute, as their needs change throughout the night. We also provide a “heated humidifier” to warm the air and reduce throat irritation, dry mouth and soreness. Our Respiratory Therapists are able to choose from a wide range of masks as they help our patients select the best mask for their facial anatomy and clinical needs.
The most important and most difficult part of a Sleep Health Wellness Program is the long- term support of employees. For those using PAP for sleep apnea, our Sleep Counselors (Nurse Practitioners and Respiratory Therapists) provide clinical expertise and personalized support to patients. Counselors monitor usage rates of a PAP device using built-in technology for at least the first 3 months. Counselors can quickly rectify any problems to increase the likelihood that patients accept their treatment and learn to successfully manage their sleep disorder.