Sleep Disorders Center Expanded in New Location at UVMC
Elaine Walker doesn’t mind if people come to her office to sleep. That’s actually the reason she is there.
Walker, coordinator of the Sleep Disorders Center at Upper Valley Medical Center, is happier than ever to welcome guests to the center’s new home in the hospital’s Physician Office Building. The area was designed specifically for a sleep disorders center, a growing business in today’s hectic world.
“There is so much more research now that shows sleep is the key to everything. It affects so many of our bodily functions,” Walker said.
“We are go-go-go, get things done,” said Jerry McGlothen, UVMC director of Cardiopulmonary Services, including the sleep center. “If you have a busy schedule, what gives? You get up early, go to bed late and your sleep time is what suffers. Then, you are not as effective, you cannot concentrate.”
To help pinpoint and address sleep issues, the center conducts sleep studies ordered by a physician. The patient comes to the center, which has four beds with room to grow to six. Each bed is located in a room designed to be more like a hotel or home versus a clinical setting.
Every bedroom has its own private bath, Sleep Number full-size mattress, white noise machine and ceiling fan to accommodate frequent patient requests for air movement.
There’s a TV on the wall for viewing, if desired, during relaxation time before testing begins by one of the center’s two sleep technicians. Each room also has a wall quilt made by Walker’s mother.
“We wanted it to be like a bedroom in a home where you are comfortable,” Walker said. “We still have clinical things but you don’t feel like you are in the hospital.”
Ron Sweeney of Troy visited the new sleep disorders center earlier this year so he could obtain new continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) equipment he has used to help sleep for 20 years.
“They make you feel right at ease. I knew there was nothing to be apprehensive about” because of two previous tests, he said. “The room is nice. It is very comfortable even though they wire you up with electrodes.”
Sweeney said his wife of now more than 40 years complained about his snoring, telling him he would stop breathing at times. He made his first sleep lab visit in the 1990s after an anesthesiologist said he should be tested.
Today’s CPAP equipment is quieter and more comfortable, particularly the smaller nasal pillow he recently obtained, Sweeney said.
“I highly recommend anybody go through it (testing) if they are snoring, especially if they stop breathing. People don’t realize they have a problem,” he said.
The sleep center previously was located in a separate building on the UVMC campus. The new location was built with sound attenuation measures helping to make the center much quieter, Walker said.
The center also includes offices, a linen room, the monitoring room for technologists, an area to clean equipment, a kitchenette where patients can get a bedtime snack and coffee to go in the morning and a consult room for uses including visits by companies that offer CPAP masks that many patients will end up using to address sleep issues.
The location is more accessible to patients who may be in the hospital for other business and want to stop in for questions about equipment or other issues. Efforts are made to work with each patient’s needs including scheduling the time for a test either night or day.
“Elaine’s personal touch is important. She bends over backward to schedule to their liking, show them the lab, etcetera,” McGlothen said.
The UVMC Sleep Disorders Center will be featured in an open house at the UVMC Physician Office Building (adjacent to the hospital) on Tuesday, June 3, from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Also included will be UVMC’s new educational patient simulators and the robotic surgery unit, which visitors will be invited to try out for themselves. Refreshments and door prizes also will be included. For further details about the open house, call (937) 440-7642.
For more information on the UVMC Sleep Disorders Center, call (937) 440-7168 or log on to UVMC.com.