Innovative drive-thru service for patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

A team at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals has set up a new drive-thru service for patients suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).

The Sleep Service team provides treatment for 2,000 patients in the region and enable access to a new model of CPAP machine through the drive-thru.

The drive-thru ensures patient treatment is not disrupted and they feel supported through the Covid-19 pandemic, where currently they are unable to attend face-to-face appointments.

An estimated 1.5 million people suffer from OSA in the UK; the condition is caused by the narrowing of the airways during sleep which results in disrupted sleep and obstructed breathing.

Some patients can stop breathing entirely, and so a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine keeps airways open during sleep.

Patients currently using the older CPAP machines can come to Chorley and South Ribble Hospital and change the machine for a new one without having to leave their vehicle.

The Sleep Service team will follow up with patients over the phone and via video to ensure they aren’t having any problems.

Dr Himanshu Singh, Respiratory Consultant at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“I am proud to say we were one of the first trusts in the country to implement this, performing virtual clinics to review the effectiveness of the CPAP therapy in treating a patient’s condition and also to be able to adapt to the crisis.

“There is a remote monitoring facility built into the equipment, which means our patients no longer need to travel for appointments, but they have the comfort of knowing support is always available to them on the other end of the phone or via video consultation.

“We have been overwhelmed by the feedback we have had from the patients we have seen so far, and I want to thank my team for their innovative work in making the drive through service happen.”

The service has proven ‘extremely popular’ according to the trust, especially with patients who would normally travel great distances to attend appointments.

Patient feedback has been extremely positive;

Patient 1 said: “I was really anxious about coming to the hospital, as I have not left the house since March as my husband is shielding, however I was happy to remain in my car for the appointment. I wore my mask, as did the staff, so I felt safe.”

Patient 2 said: “My new CPAP is fantastic and I have told my friend all about it. He is going to contact you to get his CPAP upgraded as well.”

Karen Partington, Chief Executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“This is another amazing example of how our staff are adapting the way they work to ensure the high quality of care we provide for our patients continues, whatever the situation.

“It is wonderful to hear that our patients are so happy with the new CPAP machines, and my congratulations and thanks goes to the team for their dedication and hard work in setting up this innovative service.”

The team are now looking at utilising the drive through to collect diagnostic test equipment and set up new patients on the new CPAP machines, to ensure no patient is left behind with their assessment and treatment as a result of the pandemic.