New technology helps patients sleep soundly

Posted on in Community services, Hospitals

Ground-breaking wireless technology is helping patients with breathing problems enjoy better sleep and take more control of their own treatment.

Airwaves Mandy Brough Ann Bradford FHN 1 April 2016The new wireless technology remotely monitors patients on home therapy who suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea. Obstructive sleep apnoea interrupts patients’ breathing during sleep, which results in restless nights and tiredness and has long term health implications.

To treat the condition patients wear a mask at night that gently blows air into the throat to keep the airway open. This ensures patients maintain the correct levels of oxygen for an uninterrupted night’s sleep.

The Sleep Service at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton – which looks after more than 800 people with the condition – has introduced the new monitoring technology.  Around 60 patients in Hambleton and Richmondshire are currently using the system, which is also being developed for people living further away and in rural areas.

The innovative Airview equipment – developed by Resmed – is modern, quiet and easy for patients to use. It monitors patients’ sleep and saves their data securely on a cloud based system which staff at the hospital can then view online.

Mandy Brough, respiratory specialist nurse at the Friarage said the service would be much more convenient for patients. “Remote monitoring enables us to deliver a better service. We know immediately if there is a problem so we can adjust treatment levels and spot issues as they develop,” she explained.

Introducing the technology has taken more than a year to ensure the secure system works well for patients, however once a patient is set up they don’t have to attend routine appointments as frequently as they once did. The hospital can monitor the patient’s therapy and remotely trouble-shoot any problems. This makes it easier for all patients, especially those who live in rural areas and have to travel a long way to hospital.

The Airview system is implemented in partnership between patients and the hospital, enabling patients to play a greater part in their treatment. Patients can monitor their results using a free, easy-to-use mobile phone app called myAir, which helps them make the most of their therapy and benefit from personalised coaching.

Obstructive sleep apnoea is widely under diagnosed, however more people are becoming aware of the condition and younger people are being identified as sufferers. Through monitoring patients at home the hospital can manage time more effectively and see more patients, thereby easing the growing demand for the service.

Mandy added that with the new, securely hosted system, she could do “exactly the same for patients at their home” as she could in a clinic setting. “The only thing I cannot do remotely is fit a mask,” she said.

Airwaves patient Ann Bradford FHN April 2016One patient benefitting from the system is Ann Bradford, who previously worked for the NHS as an accident and emergency receptionist at Royal Cornwall Hospital (Treliske). Ann, 70, from Middleham is undergoing treatment due to difficulty sleeping, which makes her tired all the time.

She said: “This is an excellent service and I would recommend it. Being monitored in my own home is much more convenient for me. It gives me peace of mind knowing I can talk to someone if there are any problems and I don’t have to worry and am more confident about my treatment.

“Travelling is reduced as I don’t have to come into hospital so often, a huge benefit living in Wensleydale as it’s a long way to the hospital. Thanks to the treatment my quality of life has improved, I sleep much better now and am more comfortable. I’m not as tired, can do more and live life to the full.”