Even if you're dedicated to screening your patients for symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), some will fall through the cracks. Too many patients rush through questionnaires or don't take their symptoms seriously. They may be focused on other issues when they come into your office, or not realize that they have a problem worth mentioning.
A woman who lost her husband from untreated sleep apnea has developed a tool to help your patients learn about their sleep, and to help them seek help if they’re suffering from symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing.
Using Grief to Help Others
According to news reports, Mary Schaff of Grand Rapids Michigan became a widow because of sleep apnea. Her husband’s OSA had gone undetected for years, and caused permanent damage to his heart, resulting in death. If his OSA had been caught in his 40s, when the symptoms first began appearing, he could have received treatment and lived.
Mary Schaff published her story online to educate other families about sleep apnea, but she wanted to do more to save lives. She’s organized an annual fundraiser to raise money for Sleep Apnea Education, works to educate medical professionals about the condition, and has partnered with the Cleveland Clinic to develop a screening app for patients to use at home.
Sleep by the Cleveland Clinic is available in the app store and includes a suite of tools to screen for sleep disorders. It also uses phone data to give personalized sleep hygiene advice and can connect users with professionals to help them determine the next steps for getting sleep issues diagnosed and treated.
Could the app be helpful for your patients? Give it a try and see! Or, if you’re interested in increasing the role your dental practice plays in sleep apnea screening and treatment, join one of Dr. Dassani’s Adult or Pediatric Sleep Apnea courses. Sleep apnea can kill. Help your patients get screened and get treated.