Helping patients use a therapy device: FAQs

For patients, getting used to their therapy device is an important stage in the sleep apnoea journey. Whether their treatment involves continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), automatic positive airway pressure (APAP) or bilevel therapy, they will probably have questions about adapting to treatment. Answers to frequently asked questions can be found below.

Why is my patient's therapy device shutting off at night?

There could be a number of reasons for this. The following suggestions should help you to identify and resolve the problem:

  • Check that your patient's device is turned on and that the mask is properly adjusted. If you're not sure how to adjust your patient's mask, you might find our FAQs on Mask Fitting helpful. If your patient is experiencing high leak and Smart Start/Stop is turned on, it's possible the device is stopping automatically because of the leak.
  • Check that the power plug is fully and correctly inserted in the device. When it is correctly inserted, the power button will light up.
  • Ensure that no blankets or other objects are covering the power supply unit or the device.
  • Check whether the filter is clear. If it is blocked, replace the filter.
  • For S9TM therapy devices, check that the therapy device's lid is properly closed. If your patient is using a humidifier, make sure the humidifier lid is also closed and that the humidifier tub is fully inserted.
  • Make sure the patient is not using the Start/Stop button to light the LCD during the night, as this will stop the therapy.
  • Check whether there's a message on the screen. If there is, follow the instructions to clear the message.
  • Try unplugging the device, then plugging it in again.
  • From time to time there may be power disturbances that cause the device to power down. Ask your patient to check if other devices (e.g. alarm clock) have powered off at the same time.
  • If your patient is set up on an activated AirSenseTM 10 or AirCurveTM 10 therapy device, you will find useful information on AirViewTM Remote Assist to help you troubleshoot the issue remotely.

My patient is experiencing a dry throat or nasal congestion while using the device. What are the options?

We suggest that you try the following solutions:

  • Humidifier. Using a PAP therapy device or other sleep apnoea therapy device can sometimes lead to drying and congestion of the throat, nose, and mouth. This is because the airflow generated by the machine is often greater than your patient's body is accustomed to humidifying on its own. Humidifiers and heated tubes can increase the amount of humidity in the air your patient breathes in, which can help to reduce these symptoms and make therapy more comfortable.
  • Nasal decongestant. Nasal allergies and congestion can result in patients breathing through their mouth during the night. This dries the throat and mouth and can negatively affect their sleep apnoea therapy. A nasal decongestant or antihistamine could help to alleviate this issue.
  • Chinstrap. If your patient has a dry nose and mouth during sleep apnoea treatment, it might be because of an open mouth during sleep. A chinstrap could resolve this issue by keeping your patient’s mouth closed throughout the night.
  • Full face mask. Chronic nasal allergies or other nasal problems such as a deviated septum can make it difficult to breathe through the nose. Full face masks, which ensure your patients receive their treatment whether they breathe through their nose or mouth, could be the answer.

My patient is finding it hard to fall asleep when using the therapy device. What solution can I offer?

We recommend that you try the following solutions with your patient:

  • The "Ramp" option. The Ramp feature is designed to make therapy more comfortable. It helps your patient ease into therapy each night by setting the device at a lower pressure than prescribed and slowly ramping up to the full therapy pressure over a maximum of 45 minutes. Using Ramp means the machine has more time to reach the prescribed therapy pressure and your patient has more time to comfortably fall asleep. On ResMed’s new AirSense 10 therapy devices, we recommend that you use the AutoRamp feature which will automatically detect when your patient falls asleep and increase pressure from this moment on.
  • An APAP therapy device. If your patient's pressure needs vary throughout the night, one of ResMed's AutoSet™ therapy devices might be a good choice. These devices automatically adjust pressure throughout the night to suit your patient's unique breathing needs.
  • The EPR feature. ResMed therapy devices have an Expiratory Pressure Relief (EPR) feature that decreases pressure as your patient exhales. This can make breathing out feel more natural and comfortable.
  • Patience: remind your patient that it takes time to get used to treatment! It takes a while for most people to get comfortable using a PAP machine and mask every night. Some patients find that wearing their mask with the therapy device running during the day, for example while watching TV, helps them to get used to it.

My patient is experiencing problems with bloating. What do you recommend?

Some people experience bloating when using a PAP device, particularly when treatment first starts. If your patient is having trouble with bloating, we suggest trying the following solutions.

  • Try to avoid swallowing air. If new to sleep apnoea therapy, your patient may be swallowing air rather than breathing normally. Swallowing air can cause bloating. Your patient should try to breathe as normally as possible when using the therapy device.
  • Try using an APAP (automatic positive airway pressure) therapy device. If your patient's pressure needs vary throughout the night, one of ResMed's AutoSet™ therapy devices might be a good choice. These devices automatically adjust pressure throughout the night to suit your patient's unique breathing patterns. By providing less pressure when they need less pressure, an AutoSet machine can help to reduce bloating.

Where should my patient place the device?

Your patient should place the therapy device on a stable bedside table. It should not be placed in a drawer or on the floor when in use. The area around the device must be dry and clean and clear of bedding, clothes or other objects that could block the air inlet or cover the power supply unit.

How often should I replace the filter in my patient’s device?

Under normal conditions, we recommend that the Standard Air Filter or Hypoallergenic Filter be replaced at least every 6 months. The air filter should be replaced immediately if it is damaged, torn, or becomes blocked by dust or dirt.

My patient wants to turn off the device to save power. Is this recommended?

The Power Save mode is designed to reduce energy consumption. It is activated by pressing the Start/Stop button for 3 seconds. We advise at least a 2 -minute wait after the end of therapy if your patient still wishes to unplug the device.

If you are using telemonitoring to track your patient's data, the device needs to remain turned on so the data can be sent.

Do you have a question about helping your patient get used to therapy that isn't addressed here? Click here to submit an online inquiry.

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