Does your loved one suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)? Have you thought about using the funding from their home care package (HCP) for medical equipment and aids, particularly CPAP masks?
CPAP masks and OSA
OSA may present as frequent and excessive sleepiness during the day, and an increased need for daytime naps. OSA is more common in elderly people because their muscle tone begins to lose definition which causes the muscles to collapse into their airways while they are asleep. However, although it is more common in the elderly population, OSA is less likely to be diagnosed, as the only diagnostic tools at present require an overnight sleep study. It is important to note that obstructive sleep apnea is linked to cardiovascular mortality in elderly people. However, CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) and the use of a CPAP mask may assist to reduce this risk.
CPAP masks available with home care packages
As home care packages in Australia are now delivered on a consumer directed care basis, your loved one may elect to use their package funds to pay for medical aids and equipment that will assist with their sleep apnea. In particular, the use of funds to pay for custom aids, such as a precise 3D custom CPAP mask, is acceptable practice. You can contact your home care package provider to enquire as to whether there are the funds available in your package to pay for a CPAP mask, and request that your HCP provider organises this on your behalf.
DVA funding for veterans
If you are a veteran, you may also be able to receive funding to pay for your CPAP mask through DVA. The Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP) provides equipment for veterans to enable them to continue to live at home independently. Contact your DVA provider for an occupational therapist assessment to see whether a CPAP mask is ideal for your loved one’s needs.
CPAP masks are a pivotal aid in the treatment of OSA in elderly people. Federal government funding, through home care packages or Department of Veteran Affairs may assist you or your loved one to receive funding to cover the cost of a CPAP mask. Treatment of OSA may decrease fatigue and sleepiness in elderly people, reducing their risk of a cardiovascular event, or falls and injuries as a result of tiredness. Speak to your funding provider to find out more information on the funding available to you or your loved one.