March 17, 2020– World Sleep Society understands that our membership may have questions about the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and sleep provider best practices. We recommend you review information from your local health departments as many regions are responding differently.
From the perspective of a sleep laboratory, we share with you the following message from our past-president, Clete Kushida, MD, PhD of Stanford.
Advice from Stanford Sleep Lab:
Given the grave, unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and that our regional area is significantly affected, we have implemented the following procedures. We have received requests for what our sleep medicine division is implementing, so I’m sharing this with you in case it might be helpful:
– All our patients who have visits scheduled with us will be converted to video visits. There may be very rare situations where patients may need a face-to-face visit (e.g., hypoglossal nerve stimulation visits) with our providers; we will manage these on a case-by-case basis and will be exploring alternatives to face-to-face visits for these specific situations.
– For our providers who may need to self-isolate in the future or are in a high-risk category for potential exposure to COVID-19, we are exploring the steps necessary for video visits by providers from home and plan to have it implemented soon.
– Given the high-risk exposure of our sleep technologists to possible COVID-19 during sleep study procedures through close contact and placement of recording devices on a patient’s face and body, especially near the nose and mouth, we have postponed all sleep studies, both ambulatory and in-laboratory, for the next two weeks. As the end of the two-week period approaches, we will re-evaluate the test postponement in light of the status of the pandemic.
– We will be sending out an information sheet to our patients who use PAP and NIPPV therapy to inform them of best practices to avoid spreading the virus to members of their households.
World Sleep Society does not offer medical advice to patients. These suggestions are merely being shared in the pursuit to keep open communication on what other sleep labs are implementing.
For additional reading, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has compiled special considerations for sleep clinic and lab operations.