For some people, the loss of sleep really is something to lose sleep over. That's why, according to sleep disorder experts, finding the right support systems can be critical. Officials at Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk are announcing the start of a new support group affiliated with a national organization focused on promoting education and awareness for individuals and families suffering from sleep apnea and sleep-related issues. Caroline Spoth, BA, RRT, said the group, A.W.A.K.E. of Western New York, will meet quarterly starting on Tuesday, Nov. 20. Anyone interested is invited to the first meeting slated from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Brooks Memorial Hospital first floor Medical Library. Free refreshments will be available. To register, call 363-3994.
Spoth, director of Cardiopulmonary Services at Brooks Memorial Hospital, said the group is a chapter of the American Sleep Apnea Association, a Washington, D.C.-based, non-profit organization. The agency was founded in 1990 to promote awareness of sleep apnea, to work toward continuing improvements in treatments and as advocates for the interests of sleep apnea patients. According to the organization's website, A.W.A.K.E. stands for Alert, Well, And Keeping Energetic, an acronym for the group whose mission it is to give people with sleep apnea the tools to manage their own health care successfully.
"Support helps people remain current, understand the disease process and treatment, gives them social support and contact with others," Spoth said.
In addition, she said she hopes the new support group will help individuals "feel better about themselves, and will give them a forum to ask questions about their situations and the treatment options available."
The new group is the closest in the area outside of Erie and Buffalo, and, according to Spoth, there has never been a group in this location for those in need of sleep apnea support.
Although individuals are asked to register if planning to attend the first session, walk-ins will be welcome, as are family members and other individuals on the patient's support team.
"This group can help provide emotional and social support to these people as well," Spoth explained.
The November meeting will include an overview of the program and future planning.
"We'd like to know from those in attendance what they'd like to learn about in the future sessions - this is their group," Spoth noted.
The first support group meeting will also include an introduction to the Brooks Sleep Center staff and a tour of the facility.
The next meetings in 2013 are planned in February, May and August, with dates to be announced. Upcoming meetings will include special guests and equipment providers to discuss the most current options available for patients with sleep disorders.
The Brooks Sleep Center specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with sleep disorders. Patients are monitored in a hospital-based state-of-the-art facility, with highly trained medical professionals for close, personal attention during the sleep study. For patient convenience, Saturday and Sunday appointments are available, along with consultations with the Sleep Medicine Physicians prior to testing. Following completion of the sleep study, results are reviewed by board-certified Sleep Medicine Physicians to ensure accurate, professional results.
The Brooks Sleep Center reports some of the highest patient satisfaction results in the industry. More information about the Brooks Sleep Center can be found at LakeErieHealth.org. Brooks Memorial Hospital is affiliated with Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York. Those seeking more information about the American Sleep Apnea Foundation can go to sleepapnea.org.