Interdisciplinary approach to improve CPAP use for children with sleep apnea

One of the treatments available for children with pediatric obstructive sleep apnea is the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices. Since successful treatment can sometimes be hindered by a variety of challenges, researchers from the Division of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) explored ways to improve care for patients and found that a tracked approach to outpatient CPAP could be an effective approach. The findings were published in the journal Pediatric Pulmonology.

The research team implemented a quality improvement initiative involving physicians, nurses, psychologists and respiratory therapists to determine ways of improving CPAP outpatient care and processes. The team explored intervening with a tracking system and standardizing interdisciplinary care.

Using these methods, the proportion of patients returning to the clinic within four months improved from 38.2% to 65.5% while median time to the first follow-up visit improved from 133 days to 56 days. More than 70% of patients returned for a post-initiation polysomnogram, a comprehensive test used in sleep studies.

When analyzing subsamples of patients, the researchers found significant reductions in the length of stay for emergency department visits as well as hospital stays from prior to the time the patients began therapy with CPAP.

The authors suggested that further studies exploring the benefits of interdisciplinary care are warranted based on the encouraging findings of this initial study.