VA offers new CPAP clinic

Pamela Dubrow (right), a Registered Sleep Technologist and Certified Sleep Educator, provides CPAP education and proper fitting for Navy Veteran Jim Mitchell in the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center’s new CPAP Clinic. (Photo courtesy of Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center)

IRON MOUNTAIN -The Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain, Michigan, recently established a new CPAP Clinic to offer Veterans who suffer with sleep apnea help in adapting to their continuous positive airway pressure equipment.

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which breathing is regularly interrupted for at least ten seconds, per the National Institute of Health and National Sleep Foundation. Sleep apnea can contribute to other health-related problems and disease processes, such as stroke, coronary heart disease, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, and high blood pressure. It can also be responsible for excessive day time drowsiness resulting in poor or risky performance in daily activities. A CPAP machine is the most common treatment for sleep apnea.

“The implementation of our CPAP Clinic will provide Veterans in our area with a new service that has not been offered before,” said Jim Zeigler, Chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services at the Medical Center.

“The focus of this clinic is to ensure that Veterans receive top-quality education and follow-up care ensuring proper and long-standing use of the CPAP equipment,” he added.

The CPAP clinic offers Veterans CPAP set up and education, mask fittings, sensitivity training, and comprehensive follow-up care.

“The counseling offered by a Registered Polysomnographer and Certified Sleep Educator or Respiratory Therapist will help to raise the Veteran’s confidence and consistent use of CPAP,” said Zeigler.

Pamela Dubrow staffs the CPAP Clinic and is a Registered Sleep Technologist and Certified Sleep Educator with more 20 years of experience bringing a much needed service to Veterans with sleep apnea. Up to 20 percent of Veterans have sleep apnea as compared to approximately five percent of the American population who also have the same diagnosis, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Veterans may schedule an appointment or take advantage of walk-in hours Monday through Friday from 10:15 a.m. to noon and 2:15 to 4 p.m. for mask fittings, machine issues, or general questions. The CPAP Clinic is for follow-up care after the sleep study is completed. Veterans who are enrolled in VA care and interested in obtaining a sleep study should contact their Primary Care provider.

Veterans interested in using the CPAP clinic may call 906-774-3300 (or toll free (800) 215-8262), extension 34582.