The most natural thing to do when we are tired is to get into the bed, switch off the light and get that well-deserved rest. However, when a good night’s rest is interrupted by a sleep disorder, what should be a restful and restorative experience can be anything but.
A chronic sleep or respiratory condition may have a devastating effect on an individual’s daily life and long-term health by turning sleeping or breathing into a burden. Philips Sleep and Respiratory Care exists to help support people in their goal to breathe and sleep naturally and rediscover their lost normalcy, confidence and the freedom to live a fulfilling life.
CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, is a treatment that uses a prescribed air pressure level to keep the airways open. CPAP is typically prescribed to people who have sleep-disordered breathing problems, such as obstructive sleep apnea. A patient’s ability to acclimate to wearing a mask every night is the single most important factor in determining long-term success with CPAP. If a mask is uncomfortable, intimidating or ill-fitting, the patient is going to struggle to incorporate it into their lives, and they’ll likely end up not using the CPAP device.
Improving Options to Treat Sleep Apnea
To help address the challenges that patients initially face when being introduced to CPAP therapy, we recently launched our Dream Family of sleep therapy products, comprised of DreamStation (CPAP), DreamWear(Mask) and DreamMapper(Self-management System - Application), designed to help patients receive the most comfortable and effective therapy available so they can get the sleep they need and deserve.
In creating the Dream Family of products, patient insights were sought early in the design process and found to be incredibly valuable as the design and development process evolved. Philips Respironics employed a variety of approaches, including one-on-one interviews, focus groups, online surveys and ethnographies, to collect feedback from both patients and sleep professionals.
Input from people who are actually using the sleep therapy products informed our design—what they think works, what doesn’t, the biggest challenges and what could be improved. Patient feedback helped us to ensure that we were designing a product to meet patient needs and desires.
To aid a new patient in adapting to therapy, the DreamStation has a feature that enables patients to initiate therapy at a lower, more comfortable pressure. As the patient acclimates to therapy, the device gradually increases pressure with automatic, personalized adjustments, until the patient achieves their full therapeutic pressure.
Many patients told us that they had to modify how they slept, perhaps adjusting their usual position, in order to make PAP therapy work for them. We took this feedback into account to create DreamWear, providing a mask that enables patients to have freedom of movement in bed to sleep however they’d like. The DreamWear directs airflow through the sides of the mask frame so patients can sleep comfortably in any position with more freedom to move in bed. This new mask design also provides patients with a clear and natural line of sight, while the minimal contact, under-the-nose cushion helps prevents red marks, discomfort or irritation in the nostrils and on the bridge of the nose.
Something we hear a lot from OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) patients is they don’t want to be embarrassed when they’re wearing a mask— they want to be able to go about their nighttime routine like normal. You see now that our newer masks offer patients an unobstructed view, which means that they can wear their glasses or read or watch TV before bed. In DreamWear’s design for example, airflow passes through the frame along the sides of the face, providing stability where it matters. Some patients feel that smaller masks feel more normal and natural, allowing them to carry on with their nighttime routine—even kiss their bed partner goodnight.
New digital technology is also contributing to how patients manage their sleep apnea. The DreamMapper mobile app and web-based system helps patients adjust to sleep therapy by actively engaging them through daily reminders and encouraging messages. The application offers motivational alerts and educational content to engage patients in their sleep therapy.
Effective treatment with CPAP therapy enables many sleep apnea patients to take back their real-life dreams, finally having the energy and alertness to pursue activities that contribute to overall happiness. New user-friendly designs are helping patients feel more like people, and less like patients with a condition.
Mark D’Angelo joined Philips Respironics in 1999 as product manager for sleep therapy products. Since then, Mark has assumed positions of increased responsibility, moving from product development to providing management direction for the broader sleep business, and currently holds the title of Sleep Business Leader for Philips Sleep and Respiratory Care. Prior to joining Respironics, Mark worked at Sunrise Medical where he was a senior product manager for sleep products. Prior experience also includes working as a project engineer with Kennametal, Inc., and as a design engineer with Thermacore, Inc. Mark earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in 1983 and a master of business administration degree from Frostburg State University in 1988.
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