One thing the pandemic has done is put everything in perspective. When 97.2% of long-term care news over the past 18 months has been about the horrors of COVID-19, it’s a breath of fresh air to instead see a headline about the horrors of obstructive sleep apnea. It’s not good news, of course, just less bad.
According to a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) and reported by McKnight’s, somewhere in the range of 40% to 80% of people with cardiovascular disease in the United States suffer from the condition, which they say is often underestimated and under-treated.
As a gasping, snoring sleep-deprived human who has been strapping a CPAP mask to my face for at least 15 years, I took this news quite personally, especially since sleep apnea has been tied to high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, stroke, heart failure, pulmonary hypertension and Alzheimer’s. Oh, and also death.
But this isn’t about me, since I’ve exhausted the topic in other columns. I simply think this research should be taken into account by anyone designing or renovating a long-term care building, and I have a solution to propose: a centralized CPAP system in every facility.
It’s possible I’ve advocated for this before, but since there’s no statute of limitations on a brilliant idea, I’ll do it again. The technology would leverage the innovations made by the centralized home vacuum cleaner profession, but reversing the air flow and putting a connector in the wall of every resident room. In simple terms, instead of sucking, it blows.
Just pause a moment and imagine this blissful new world where we’re no longer forced to live, sleep or work with an ugly, noisy CPAP machine on every bedside table. Walking down a facility hallway, you’ll see one resident after another, and soon I’ll be among them, lying peacefully on our backs breathing that sweet, pure, life-giving centralized CPAP air.