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Queensland Health Sleep Disorders Program

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and CPAP

There is no specific data about the risks of having obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and contracting COVID-19 or if the severity will be worse. Patients with OSA should follow the same government advice that applies to the general community. Users of Non-Invasive Ventilation should contact your sleep service for any questions or if they have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19. Read more.

Sleep disorders

Most of us experience the occasional restless night when we simply can't get off to sleep or wake up feeling as if we haven't been to bed.

For sufferers of chronic sleep disorders, such as sleep apnoea, it's a scenario that's repeated night after night - with potentially life-threatening consequences, if left untreated.

Sleep disorders are associated with:

  • high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, depression and other serious illnesses
  • increased risk of road and workplace injuries and fatalities
  • relationship breakdown and social problems
  • enormous healthcare costs to the community

Queenslanders who have sleep apnoea can receive specialist assistance and treatment through the Queensland Health Sleep Disorders Program (QHSDP).

Services

Our services include:

  • Consultation with dedicated sleep medicine specialists
  • Advanced sleep investigation and diagnostic tests
  • Monitoring of patient treatment and adherence to therapy
  • Long-term loan of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device—to eligible patients
  • Patient education, support and follow-up.

Centre locations

QHSDP Prescriber Centres are located at:

  • Cairns Hospital, Cairns North
  • Gold Coast University Hospital, Southport
  • Queensland Children’s Hospital, South Brisbane
  • Sunshine Coast University Hospital, Birtinya
  • Mater Public Health Services, Brisbane
  • Princess Alexandra Hospital, Woolloongabba
  • Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital, Herston
  • The Prince Charles Hospital, Chermside
  • Townsville Hospital, Douglas.

Our clinicians work closely with public and private specialists, general practitioners and other healthcare professionals. Besides providing day-to-day care, QHSDP's clinical teams have a strong future focus. New treatments and technology are regularly reviewed, aimed at providing the highest quality care for all our patients.

How to access the program

To access QHSDP service you need a referral from your General Practitioner (GP) or medical specialist. This should be sent to your nearest QHSDP Prescriber Centre. Further eligibility requirements apply to the equipment loan scheme.

If sleep investigations are performed by a non-Queensland Health facility, full diagnostic and/or treatment information must be forwarded to the QHSDP Prescriber Centre with the doctor's referral. Further investigations may be required to be repeated at the QHSDP Prescriber Centre at the discretion of the sleep specialist.

Equipment loan scheme eligibility

Sleep Disorders Program equipment loan scheme

The Sleep Disorders Program's equipment loan scheme assists patients who can least afford to purchase their own sleep therapy device. To be considered for this scheme, you must:

  • hold a current:
    • Pensioner Concession Card, or
    • Health Care Card, or
    • Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) white card; and
  • reside permanently in Queensland; and
  • have been diagnosed with significant sleep apnoea as determined by the Queensland Sleep Disorders Program Prescriber Centre.

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card cannot be used for this program

You will also need to:

  • Rent a CPAP device at your own expense for a minimum 2-month home treatment trial with average usage of at least 4 hours per night over this period.
  • Purchase your own device accessories—including mask, headgear, and (if required) humidification. Device accessories generally cost between $180-$350 depending on the mask type and brand.
  • Be under the management of a Royal Australasian College of Physicians Accredited Sleep Physician in a QHSDP Prescriber unit.

Any concerns about eligibility for this program should be referred to the QHSDP Executive Chair or the QHSDP Executive Committee. The Executive’s decision about eligibility is final.

Although CPAP is the most effective therapy for people with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnoea, it doesn't suit everybody. The trial period helps to identify any problems. If you are able to use your CPAP for the prescribed time and feel benefit over a 2-month period and you have been clinically assessed by a Royal Australasian College of Physicians Accredited Sleep Physician in a QHSDP Prescriber Centre, a Queensland Health device can be issued.

Please note:
Queensland Health does not supply rental devices. Your local QHSDP Prescriber Centre can provide advice on how to obtain a rental machine.

Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) Gold Card

The Gold Repatriation Health Card (DVA Gold Card) is issued to Australian veterans, their widows and dependants.  The gold card entitles the holder to treatment for all medical conditions. If you have a DVA Gold card, please inform the QHSDP Prescriber Centre you have been referred to. They will assist you in the application process to obtain Positive Airway Pressure device and accessories via the DVA. More information is available on the DVA website.

Repairs to loan devices

If your QHSDP loan device develops problems or stops working, you should immediately contact the Prescriber Centre that issued it. If there are signs of electrical problems or smoke, unplug and stop using the device immediately. Never attempt to repair or dismantle it yourself. Your QHSDP Prescriber Centre will organise the repair and arrange for you to receive a replacement loan device at no cost to you—provided you are still eligible.