CPAP Education

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Because of HIPAA privacy requirements please restrict all information about your health, symptoms or personal concerns to our phone calls with you or with our staff when you are in our sleep clinics. Check our HIPAA privacy policy for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to expect at your CPAP setup appointment

For your CPAP setup appointment:

  • The appointment takes approximately 75 minutes.

  • Bring your insurance card, photo ID, and payment method (if applicable).

During your appointment, the Respiratory Therapist will teach you:

  • How to use your pap machine, including connecting the mask, tubing, filters, and water chamber

  • Show you various mask options and allow you to try the masks on to find what fits best for you

  • Teach you how and when to adjust the humidity settings

  • Teach you how and when to use the ramp feature

  • Review cleaning and maintenance instructions, including how and when to clean and replace your equipment

The therapist will also schedule follow up calls with you to check in on your progress and help you with any questions or concerns during the time you are adjusting to pap therapy.

When you leave the appointment, you will take your pap equipment home to begin treatment that day.

Mask Fitting Tips

  • Fit your mask in the position that you sleep in. For example, if you sleep on your side, lie down on your side first then put your mask on.

  • Your mask should be adjusted to be tight enough to create a good seal without making it uncomfortable. It should not be so tight that it leaves marks on your face.

  • If the head straps become too loose and you can no longer adjust them to create a good seal, it may be time for a new mask.

  • If your mask is noisy at night, it could be due to air leaks. Make sure your mask is adjusted properly. If the pillows/cushions are too worn out to get a good seal, they may need to be replaced.

  • If you frequently remove your mask while you are sleeping, it may be due to nasal congestion. Try increasing your humidity to see if that helps.

  • If your mouth is dry when you wake up, it may mean you need to increase the humidity on your pap machine.

  • If you wake up at night to use the restroom, you can remove the tubing from the mask without taking the mask off. Keeping the mask on while you are awake helps you maintain a good seal. When you return to bed, simply reconnect the tubing to the mask.

  • Spend some time while you are awake getting used to your mask/pap machine. Wear it while you watch television to help your body adjust to using pap.

CPAP Cleaning Instructions

PAP Therapy Cleaning Instructions and Maintenance Recommendations

Daily Care:

  • Wipe the inside and outside of your mask / nasal pillows with a damp cloth or DME wipe

  • Empty the water out of your humidifier. Replace with fresh water at bedtime. Distilled water is recommended. Avoid use of tap water.

  • Be sure to start with a clean face.

Seasonal Care (every 3 months):

  • Inspect your mask seal or nasal pillows inserts. If they are leaking and not providing a good seal, call your home care company for replacement. You should replace these at least every 3 to 6 months. AS of 2019 most insurance plans will allow 2 filters, and or 2 pillowsor cushions, per month, but no more than 2 at a time.

  • Wipe your machine off with a damp cloth if it is dusty. Lysol wipes work great but unplug first. Avoid use of oils or polishes.

Weekly Care or on the 15th or 30th of the month:

  • Wash your supplies with mild dish soap and water (we recommend Ivory dish soap or Johnsons baby shampoo). Do not use any soap that has additives that make them “anti-bacterial” or have strong perfumes. NO DAWN. You should wash your mask, tubing, water chamber and a gray sponge filter if you have one. Rinse well in cold water, it has less mineral deposits than hot water.

  • Wipe dry with a clean cloth and let supplies air dry for the day (usually takes 6-8 hours to dry). It is recommended that you do this early in the day. You can hang your tubing up to dry on the shower rod. If the tubing is still wet in the evening, you can attach it to your PAP machine and run air through it for a few minutes to help remove more water.

  • You may want to soak your water chamber in vinegar solution monthly (1part white vinegar to 3 parts water for 20 minutes) if you notice soap scum or mineral deposits. Rinse well after soaking.

  • When you reassemble the equipment, check for air leaks.

When you have a cold or nasal infection:

  • After a respiratory illness, clean your equipment with soap and water as instructed above. Then soak your equipment in 1part white vinegar mixed with 3 parts water for 20 minutes (ex: 1 cup vinegar with 3 cups water). Rinse well after soaking.

  • DO NOT USE BLEACH to clean your equipment, it can irritate your respiratory tract.

CPAP Tips

  • To benefit from CPAP use and meet compliance standards set by your insurance plan, you need to wear your PAP for a minimum of 4 hours every night.

  • If your PAP is noisy, check to see if your filter needs to be changed. Often a dirty filter can make the PAP sound louder.

  • If the pressure feels to strong when you are going to sleep or when you wake up in the night, use the ramp feature. This temporarily adjusts the pressure to a lower setting to allow you to fall asleep easier.

  • Make sure you remove and empty the water chamber before moving your PAP machine. Moving your PAP with water in the chamber can cause the water to leak into and damage the PAP machine.

  • If you still feel tired in the morning despite using your PAP machine regularly, you should contact your doctor. They can evaluate if the pressure settings need to be adjusted or if there is some other issue causing you to feel tired.

  • Make sure you see your doctor once a year so that they can order replacement supplies for your PAP machine. A prescription is required for all new equipment.

CPAP Supply Replacement Recommendations

Supply Replacement:

Generallyyour insurance plan will allow you to get new supplies every 6 months. We strongly encourage you to obtain new supplies at least once a year for your health. Your cost for the supplies depends on your insurance plan.

CPAP Assistance

  • If you are struggling with your PAP or mask, contact the company where you got your PAP machine. They have trained staff that can assist you with suggestions and tips.

  • If you’re not sure where you got your PAP machine, contact your doctor for assistance.

  • If you received your PAP machine from Clayton Sleep Institute, contact our office at (314) 645-5855. We can help you trouble shoot your issues and schedule an appointment or phone call with our respiratory therapists if needed.

  • A physician’s prescription is required for all supplies. Each prescription is only valid for 1 year.

Most insurance plans follow these replacement guidelines (individual plans may vary):

Mask/Headgear 1 per 6 months
Full Face Cushion 1 per month
Nasal Pillow/Cushion 2 per month
Chinstrap 1 per 6 months
Tubing 1 per 3 months
Disposable Filter 2 per month
Non-disposable Filters 1 per 6 months
Water Chamber 1 per 6 months

Better Sleep, Better Life.

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