CPAP devices: encouraging patients with sleep apnea

Rehabil Nurs. 2006 May-Jun;31(3):114-22. doi: 10.1002/j.2048-7940.2006.tb00015.x.


Continuous positive airway pressure devices (CPAP) used at night prevent apnea, hypoxia, and sleep disturbance. Although CPAP is more effective than placebo in improving sleepiness and quality of life measures in people with obstructive sleep apnea, patients often prefer a less-effective oral appliance. This article examines help-seeking experiences in support groups of individuals with sleep apnea who use CPAP devices. To understand patients' experiences and difficulties using CPAP, an urban medical center and a rural hospital shared data collected from 17 individuals with sleep apnea who use CPAP for treatment and attend a support group. Four related themes emerged including (a) becoming motivated to persist with help from the group, (b) accommodating to the device, (c) listening and telling stories to gain practical knowledge, and (d) implementing a support group as a caring community. Healthcare providers could recommend support groups on CPAP use while nurses guide discussion, provide technical information, and promote empowerment.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / instrumentation
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life
  • Rehabilitation Nursing / methods
  • Self-Help Groups
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome