A team at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals has set up a new drive-through service for patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).
With an estimated 1.5 million people in the UK living with OSA, the condition is caused by the excessive narrowing of the airways during sleep. People with OSA experience constantly disrupted sleep and obstructed breathing to the extent that they can briefly stop breathing entirely. These patients are treated using a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, which keeps airways open during sleep and therefore improves quality of sleep.
The Sleep Service team, who provides treatment for 2,000 patients in the region, set up the drive through to give patients access to a new model of CPAP machines, ensuring their treatment is not disrupted and they feel supported throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, despite being temporarily unable to attend appointments in person.
Patients using the older CPAP machines can come to Chorley and South Ribble Hospital and without leaving their vehicle, swap out the machine for a new one. The new machines are easy to use and quick to set up, and the team will follow up with patients over the telephone and via video calls to ensure they aren’t having any problems and their treatment is going well.
Dr Himanshu Singh, Respiratory Consultant at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am proud to say we were one of the first trusts in the country to implement this, performing virtual clinics to review the effectiveness of the CPAP therapy in treating a patient’s condition and also to be able to adapt to the crisis.There is a remote monitoring facility built into the equipment, which means our patients no longer need to travel for appointments, but they have the comfort of knowing support is always available to them on the other end of the phone or via video consultation. We have been overwhelmed by the feedback we have had from the patients we have seen so far, and I want to thank my team for their innovative work in making the drive through service happen.”
The service has been proven extremely popular with patients who would normally travel great distances to attend their hospital appointment such as the Lake District, East Lancashire, Lancaster and Southport. The staff can review patient utilisation and compliance with the equipment for each individual and save unnecessary appointments.
Patient feedback has been extremely positive;
Patient 1 said: “I was really anxious about coming to the hospital, as I have not left the house since March as my husband is shielding, however I was happy to remain in my car for the appointment. I wore my mask, as did the staff, so I felt safe.”
Patient 2 said: “My new CPAP is fantastic and I have told my friend all about it. He is going to contact you to get his CPAP upgraded as well.”
Karen Partington, Chief Executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is another amazing example of how our staff are adapting the way they work to ensure the high quality of care we provide for our patients continues, whatever the situation. It is wonderful to hear that our patients are so happy with the new CPAP machines, and my congratulations and thanks goes to the team for their dedication and hard work in setting up this innovative service.”
Spurred on by the positive patient responses, the team are now looking at utilising the drive through to collect diagnostic test equipment and set up new patients on the new CPAP machines, to ensure no patient is left behind with their assessment and treatment as a result of the pandemic.