What is a Home Sleep Apnea Test? Is it right for me? How does funding work?
BY CHME Team
Feb 18, 2022
Sleep Apnea is one of the leading under diagnosed illnesses that correlate with many other symptoms we may perceive, or have been perceiving as normal for generations. Snoring? Bathroom breaks at night? easily irritable? Difficulty falling asleep? Higher glucose levels in the morning and pre-diabetic stages or diabetic? Have you gotten your sleep checked?
Believe it or not, sleep is a crucial component in maintaining a hormone balance, normalized glucose, decreasing bathroom breaks, reducing blood pressure, treating diabetes, morning headaches, clenching and grinding of teeth and much, much more. Believe me when I say, there is nothing more frustrating than having someone else instruct you how to sleep. But what is more frustrating than that, is leaving an unknown illness that is so easily treated for the most part and seeing many more severe medical conditions start to occur such as congestive heart failure, Atrial Fibrillation re-occurrence, hypertension, diabetes, anxiety/depression, etc. Not only does it decreases the quality of life for the individuals, but also adds on-going medication expenses and is an additional preventable burden in the medical system.
At the end of day, when we don't look for a band-aid solution such as pills, we can generally find and treat the root source of the issue. Find out more reading our fun educational blog on Hormones & Sleep Apnea where we break down the correlation that we may not have thought of.
I Snore, Everyone does. It is normal...
Snoring: Once thought of just as a social inconvenience has progressed to being only being the tip of the iceberg for a plethora of other day-time symptoms. When I talk to many of my newly diagnosed patients, many family members and patients themselves will not understand the full impact in their health, and at times marital situations, snoring alone causes. This leads to laughter of how long they have been snoring for and how annoying it is that the individual snores. But no one initially thinks about the effects that it puts the body in.
Not only is snoring a tell-tale sign there may be something deeper than just snoring, but it can also subconsciously affect relationships. If we snore, our significant other is by our side nightly, listening to the snoring EVEN IN THEIR SLEEP. This can lead to sleep deprivation because the deep stages of sleep weren't achieved due to loud ambient sounds (Snoring). Without a proper sleep, night in and night out, can we imagine what will happen with the relationship? I think you may have an idea.
Sleep Apnea Testing options
Home Sleep Apnea Testing
By far the most sought after method of testing nation wide, and definitely for a reason. They are relatively affordable, readily available with little to no wait times and are very accurate when compared to sleep studies performed at a Sleep Lab at a hospital. This test is done for 1-2 nights in the comfort of your own home, pillow, same routine, which would give us a much more accurate of what happens on a night-by-night basis at your home. These tests are FULLY interpreted by a Respirologist certified by the board of physicians and Sleep Lab as well as manually scored by a Registered Polysomnography Technician for most reliable results. This method of testing can have you with an appropriate therapy within a week! Not only that, but whatever the case is, we work in collaboration with several different companies and specialists to ensure you get the premium care you deserve.
Full sleep study in the hospital labs. It has been deemed as the "golden standard" since the 1980s but now we really have to question why is it when there are SUCH great alternatives for FAST and accurate testing methods with quicker OSA diagnosis and treatment. For sleep labs, there generally is a 3-6 month wait, done in a hospital bed with several probes on your face, head, arms, legs, chest, 2 straps across your chest and abdomen, a finger probe and nasal cannulas. Don't forget the wires that are also attached to these probes. While this has been a golden standard for sleep disorders, for diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a sleep study at a hospital is considered overkill. Put it this way, if you are pretty positive you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea based on your symptoms and don't want to wait to be placed in the system, why not fast track with a home test and have potential therapy in less than a week vs. having to waiting 3-6 months then 1 month for a follow up to let you know the results and to possibly go for a trial of CPAP if it is OSA.
Getting assessed with minimal symptoms other than snoring.
If snoring is your only reason for testing, you may think that there is nothing else going on. Or better yet, if there is something more severe hidden behind snoring, they don't see a need for therapy as issues have not started. Again, even as a therapist doing this for multiple years, I have to admit I understand this train of thought. By human nature we don't want to fix something that isn't broken, aka, minimal symptoms = no therapy.
I won't, and don't argue against that. I will ask this however: Are you waiting until something more severe happens that will limit your quality of life going forward? Or are you looking for a preventative measure?
I LOVE analogies. Think about it this way. You check your car's oil levels. You notice it has burnt oil and is now 1/4 full and should be topped up. You have two options, either top it up to prevent any damages to the car OR leave it as is until the light comes on to fill it up and risk extra stress to the engine. The strain on the motor by having to work with less than ideal oil levels can reduce the car's life span, but doesn't mean that it WILL reduce the car's lifespan and engine health. Leaving OSA untreated would be like leaving your car with less than ideal oil levels which can cause premature stress to the engine, just like it would to your brain and your heart.
The Truth about ADP Funding (Assisted Devices Program)
Guys, I am going to talk about a not-so-fun topic that I need to review with all my patients when they commence CPAP trial. In Ontario, in order to have assisted funding for a CPAP machine, you must go through a Sleep Lab , go thorough the trial, pay for the trial and rental and initial mask, hose and humidifier. Having said that, the truth about the Assisted Devices Program is really that it has been decreasing their overall coverage for CPAP machines by further subsidizing the price that CPAP providers can sell machines for. In a time span of 3 years they further subsidized the price of CPAP machines by an additional $500 whuile the cost of parts, shipping and labor has increased. In 2018, they would cover 75% of over $1060.00, in 2019 they reduced it to $860.00 and in 2021 they further subsidized the price to $554.00
Although they advertise they have kept coverage at 75%, they only refer to the CPAP machine at $554.00. Their message is "by reducing the cost of the CPAP, it will save Ontarians on their medical bills". Unfortunately, that couldn't be further from the truth.
It is not possible for 99% of businesses to sell CPAP machines for $554.00 and stay in business and staff specialists to assist in CPAP therapy. In fact, you cannot find a CPAP for sale for $554.00. Just as an example, Online shopping, where we go to SAVE money, check out the prices of those machines with ZERO service or assistance- they will run for over $1500.00 CAD. In conclusion, needless to say companies have not reduced their prices which have increased the overall cost of a CPAP package for patients. It is okay for those with insurance (select plans) but for majority the public healthcare system has ultimately failed our citizens. I don't only say this regarding CPAPs, but the ministry has done the exact same thing with Walkers, Rollators, Wheelchairs, Suction units, etc. So my question to you is, if you need service how is that possible with minimal funding for the province where business won't be able to stay afloat.
Just for curiosity, I checked out google reviews for one of our competitors for Rollators and walkers and CPAP machines and supplies. This company is bigger and backed by big corporate pockets. They charge what the ministry covers, no more. Can you take a guess how those reviews about service and knowledgeable staff are going? I question how a company like that will stay afloat in the next few years with reducing coverages for all medical items through the ministry with no specialized staff to assist their customers. It is sad to say but in the end, we get what we pay for.
Costs of CPAP machines generally run between $1600.00-$2000.00 when you purchase them in-store with services and is what to expect the cost of a CPAP package to be. Insurance companies will generally (except Canada Life and Great West Life) cover accessories and the uncovered portion of the CPAP on the initial claim.
If you're looking for a fast, reliable sleep test to assess if you have sleep apnea, a home sleep test could get you an answer in a matter of days and review of therapies that are recommended based on the diagnosis.
If time is not of essence and you can wait the 3-6 months for a sleep study and don't have any concerns with your health, then 1 month for a respirologist consultation, then decide what to do. However, do keep in mind the ADP will cover $415.50 of the entire total.
Once you factor in rental costs and professional fees that ADP and insurance companies WILL NOT cover, you would be paying roughly the same amount as you would with ADP coverage except you will have waited many months to get the process going when publicly funded.
We hope this has been informative and you've learned something new!