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My mother, 87, was diagnosed with sleep apnea years ago (but, now that I think about it, never did a sleep study). She was prescribed a CPAP machine and either refused to use it or tore it off during the night. My father, on the other hand, took to it easily. She got a different mask with similar results. Now she is in a nursing home and after her last illness has been prescribed permanent 24 hour oxygen through a cannula in her nostrils. She doesn’t like it, but doesn’t fight it. Her yearly appointment with her neurologist is coming up at which time he will again prescribe a CPAP.


I am loathe to try to push another treatment on her when she doesn’t handle well the other indignities of aging.


Update: We did see her neurologist today, and he agreed with me. He said to encourage her to use the mask, but don’t stress her over it. I also got him to admit that the doctor or nurse practitioner at the nursing home can handle the yearly prescription for her and my father. These appointments are so exhausting for my parents as they can’t transfer and have to be transported in their wheelchairs by the facility bus. One appointment can take up to 4 hours!

We are learning that my parents had way, way too many doctors’ appointments when we were taking care of them at home. They had excellent health insurance in addition to Medicare, which made it easy for the doctors to say, “come back for a follow up”, or “I need to see him again in 4 months”.
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Reply to Treeartist
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I agree at 87 and it would cause her to lose sleep trying to keep the darn thing on, forgot it. Let her be comfortable with her oxygen via nasal cannula.
I honestly don’t know why these doctors would even prescribe it ( I understand for sleep apnea but geez, @ 87?
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Reply to Shane1124
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One third of CPAP users are non compliant, with a lot claiming they are claustrophobic. Even when hospitalized, patients can refuse. There is no one to stand at the bedside to replace the masks unless the patients are in an ICU or step down and even there they can refuse. Getting a new machine is useless for non compliant.  If there is documentation that usage is not a certain number of hours each night for the first couple of months ( the machines record) insurance will have the machine removed forever.
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Reply to MACinCT
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Do you know what the results are? If you don't know the results, ask about the Sleep Study results when your Mom sees neurologist next time.

There are different types of "Sleep Studies". Some of the most accurate are those that are performed by a "Sleep Study Department" and the patient "sleeps" in a bed while being monitored and has electrodes attached to their head to monitor sleep rhymes and tubes in their nostrils to monitor air flow. I have heard of "Sleep Studies" where the patient uses a CPAP that has a microchip and the patient rents the CPAP, uses the CPAP while they sleep in their own bed at home and then, afterwards, a technician "reads" the microchip from the CPAP. I don't think that those are very accurate except to maybe determine the amount of pressure from the CPAP that you need while sleeping.
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Reply to DeeAnna
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I’m sorry, I was misinformed. She did have the sleep study.
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Reply to Treeartist
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A respiratory therapist here.. I totally agree without a sleep study it is next to useless. The study helps to determine the amount of pressure you need, Otherwise its a guess at best. I work in an ICU, and myself and my coworkers are always "laughing" when a surgeon or intensivist orders CPAP for a pt because they "snore", or wake up. NO study, no billable reason.. just because! And they ask US what the settings should be.. UHH "Willie Nelson and Elton John??" They don't listen when we say "who knows",,so we just usually say 5,, it's the smallest number we can use, can't hurt, probably won't help since we have NO idea! And we know they go home, without one, and most don't follow up. But the Dr is happy, and he is the one writing the orders.
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Reply to pamzimmrrt
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I agree with Jeanne. Be glad that your Mom is accepting of the oxygen cannula. And tell the doctor that your Mom does not use the CPAP so you want it discontinued.

Without a sleep study, a doctor is guessing as to the cause of the sleep apnea. There ARE several different causes. My Mom, my brother and I all use CPAPs but the root cause of our sleep apnea is different. My Mom can go without the CPAP and have little trouble with breathing, but I HAVE to use the CPAP whenever I am lying down, even in the recliner.

If your Mom has lived this long without using the CPAP every night, then she probably doesn't have a major or severe form of sleep apnea and can go without the CPAP.
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Reply to DeeAnna
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Just tell the doctor she is/was not using it and there is no point in getting another prescription. (And having this prescribed without a sleep study -- what is that all about?)

Rejoice that she is accepting of the cannula.
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