CPAP Care Program
Many children in our care use a CPAP machine to help regulate their breathing during sleep. CPAP stands for "continuous positive airway pressure" therapy. A CPAP machine has a tube that connects to a mask and it helps kids with sleep apnea or other breathing problems to improve their sleep.
The Sleep Center includes a team specially trained in helping you and your child understand how a CPAP machine fits into your care plan. We work with you to learn how to care for your CPAP machine and related equipment to keep it clean and working properly.
Learning about the CPAP machine
If your sleep doctor feels that CPAP therapy would help your child sleep better, you will have a special appointment with the CPAP Clinic team. They will be with you from the beginning to help you fit and select your mask.
At this visit, your child will experience the sensation of wearing the mask, first by itself and then with the pressure on. They can try out the mask without the pressure in different sleep positions and feel and hear the air going through the machine before trying on the mask with the pressure running.
The CPAP coordinator will teach you how to clean the equipment and share troubleshooting tips to use at home. You can also call your CPAP coordinator or send a message through the Patient Portal with any questions or problems that come up.
Help with questions and concerns about your CPAP
Your Children’s Mercy CPAP coordinator will follow up with you frequently after you get your equipment to see how things are going. Every time you come to the Sleep Clinic to see your doctor, you will also meet with your CPAP coordinator for a check-in.
Some CPAP machines have apps that track your child’s usage. Depending on the specific equipment your child uses, your coordinator may be able to access that data from the app and help you identify any problems or concerns. We also have a sleep psychologist available to work with your family if your child is having difficulty using their CPAP regularly or as directed.
For more information or questions for the CPAP coordinators, call (913) 696-8370.
CPAP tips for kids and families
It’s important to understand how to use and care for your CPAP machine correctly. Here are some helpful tips:
Full face mask:
- Disconnect the bottom straps from the mask. With your mouth slightly open, place the base of the mask on your face under your lower lip, then roll the mask up over your nose.
- While holding the mask in place, reconnect the bottom headgear straps. Pull back the top and bottom tabs to evenly adjust the straps to the mask. The mask should fit snugly but comfortably.
- Connect the tubing to the mask.
- Find a comfortable sleeping position. If there are any air leaks, adjust the mask by applying pressure with your fingers directly to the mask where the leak is. Then tighten the strap closest to the leak. Do not overtighten the straps.
Nasal mask/nasal pillows:
- Disconnect the tubing from the mask. Gently hold the mask to your nose and pull the headgear over your head.
- Adjust the straps for a comfortable, but snug fit.
- Connect the tubing to the mask.
- Find a comfortable sleeping position. If there are any air leaks, adjust the mask by tightening the strap closest to the leak. Do not overtighten the straps.
- It will take some time to get used to your CPAP machine. This is normal. Try using it for short periods during the day while watching TV and slowly increase your time.
- Use your machine’s ramp to start at a lower pressure and the machine will gradually increase pressure as you fall asleep.
- Be patient! Over time, you’ll get used to it.
- Positive: Increased energy, improved sleep, mood and cognition, and a positive overall effect on your health.
- Negative: congestion, nasal or oral dryness, headaches and claustrophobia. These are often easy to control. Talk to your sleep physician if you have questions or concerns about using your CPAP.
- Dry eyes/snoring with your mask on could be due to an air leak in the mask. Check for a correct fit.
- Oral or nasal dryness or sinus discomfort may be corrected by increasing the humidity on your device.
- Congestion and/or runny nose while on PAP therapy may be due to allergies. Ask your doctor about treatment options.
- Redness or skin abrasions can be caused by over-tightening the mask or an inappropriate mask. If symptoms do not resolve with loosening of the mask, contact your home health company.
- If you’ve been using your CPAP regularly and still feel you are excessively sleepy during the day or not experiencing restful sleep at night, contact your physician for possible reevaluation.
- Wash your mask and headgear daily with warm, soapy water. Do not use bleach or alcohol or leave the mask in direct sunlight.
- Tubing should be washed weekly. The mask and tubing should be rinsed with fresh water and left to air dry.
- Inspect your mask and tubing regularly for damage like cracks and tearing.
- Check with your home health company and/or insurance company to find out how often you can replace your mask.
- Follow recommendations from your manufacturer and home health company.
- Follow up with your sleep physician on a regular basis to report any side effects or concerns as soon as possible.