What is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) occurs when the walls of a persons throat collapse during sleep, blocking off the upper airway. Breathing stops for a short period of time until the brain registers a drop in oxygen levels and sends a small wake up call. The person may snort or gasp as they re-open their airway before drifting back to sleep. This can occur hundreds of times each night without the person realising or remembering resulting in severely fragmented sleep. OSA is also associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Sleep Apnoea Services
Friendlies Sleep Apnoea Services are designed to identify and support people living with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). The first service is a home sleep study to investigate if you have OSA. The second service is a CPAP trial, for people who have been recommended CPAP therapy as treatment for OSA.
Friendlies also offer a wide range of CPAP machines and accessories available for purchase.
Home Sleep Study
The Friendlies home sleep study will investigate if you have OSA. It is conducted in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Your results will be reviewed by a qualified sleep physician and then explained to you by a trained Friendlies representative who will also provide advice and support on the next steps.
To get started, simply download the referral form and take it to your GP. Once completed, drop it back at your local Friendlies pharmacy and one of our staff will be able to help you further.
Home Sleep Study FAQ’s
1. What are the symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea?
Some of the associated symptoms include daytime sleepiness, fatigue and tiredness, poor concentration, irritability and mood changes. If you answer ‘yes’ to two or more of the following questions you are at high risk of having OSA and should speak to your GP or local Friendlies pharmacy about participating in a sleep study.
- Do you snore loudly (louder than talking or can be heard through a closed door)?
- Do you often feel tired, fatigued or sleepy during the day?
- Has anyone noticed you stop breathing during your sleep?
- Do you have or are you being treated for high blood pressure?
STOP Questionnaire (Chung F et al, Anaesthesiology. May 2008; 108(5):812-21)
2. What causes Obstructive Sleep Apnoea?
Being overweight is one of the most common causes of OSA as it can cause a narrowing of the throat due to excess fatty tissue. Also, having a large waistline can make the lungs smaller during the night, which makes the throat more likely to collapse. Some people are born with a narrow throat or have a facial structure which leads to narrowing. Other contributing factors include: alcohol, especially in the evening as this relaxes the throat muscles and hampers the brain’s reaction to sleep disordered breathing, certain illnesses, large tonsils, medications, such as sleeping tablets and sedatives as well as nasal congestion and obstruction.
3. How can Obstructive Sleep Apnoea be treated?
For people with a mild level of OSA, losing weight, decreasing the amount of alcohol consumed in the evening or adjusting the sleeping position may be all that is needed. However, for those with moderate or severe OSA more active treatment is often required. The most common form of treatment for moderate to severe OSA is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy. Find out more about CPAP therapy and the Friendlies CPAP trial service here.
4. How is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea diagnosed?
OSA can be diagnosed via a sleep study. The Friendlies home sleep study uses portable equipment to record your sleep patterns, which means it can be conducted in the comfort of your own home.
5. How much does it cost?
There is no cost for a Friendlies home sleep study as it is bulk billed through Medicare. However, you need to meet certain eligibility criteria to participate.
6. What are the eligibility criteria?
To be eligible for a free home sleep study at Friendlies, you need to be aged 18 years or over and have a valid GP referral. You must also have a Medicare card and not claimed a sleep study from Medicare in the past 12 months. Your participation in the study needs to be approved by a qualified sleep physician. Your local Friendlies pharmacy will seek this approval on your behalf.
7. Why do I need a GP referral?
Medicare will only cover the cost of the study if both your GP and a qualified sleep physician believe there is a high probability that you have OSA. You will need to visit your GP for a referral. Your local Friendlies pharmacy will seek approval from a qualified sleep physician on your behalf.
You can download a blank referral form to take to your GP here. Referrals on other forms or addressed to other service providers may be acceptable. If you already have a referral for a sleep study and are unsure if it can be used at Friendlies, drop into your local pharmacy and show it to one of our friendly staff.
8. How do I book a study?
Friendlies need to see your GP referral before a study can be booked. You can post, email or drop your referral into your local Friendlies pharmacy. Friendlies will then organise for a qualified sleep physician to review your referral. This process generally takes a few days. If the sleep physician approves your participation in the study, Friendlies will contact you to make an appointment. The appointment needs to be late in the afternoon or evening, as close as possible to the time you normally go to sleep.
9. What happens at my appointment?
A Friendlies representative will place small electrode sensors on your head to monitor your sleep and a band around your chest to measure your breathing. The appointment will take approximately 1 hour.
10. What do I bring to my appointment?
Please bring your Medicare card and driver’s licence to your appointment.
11. What do I wear to my appointment?
Wear a top that you are comfortable to sleep in. Small sensors will be placed on your head and a band around your chest which means you won’t be able to shower or change your top after your appointment.
12. Do I need to go straight home to sleep?
You need to go straight home after your appointment but you don’t need to go straight to sleep. You should go to bed at your normal time. You can drive yourself home from your appointment. When you arrive home you can eat, drink, read a book, watch TV and walk around your house. However, reducing your movements will minimise the risk of the equipment falling off.
13. What happens in the morning?
You can take the equipment off as soon as you wake up in the morning. You must return the equipment to Friendlies that same day. Friendlies will download your sleep data from the equipment and send it to a qualified sleep physician for review.
14. When will I receive my results?
It will take approximately 2 weeks for a qualified sleep physician to review your sleep data. Friendlies will contact you to book an appointment to discuss your results when they become available. A copy of your results will also be sent to your referring GP.
15. What if my results are positive?
If your results are positive for OSA, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy may be recommended. Friendlies offer a CPAP trial service and a selection of CPAP machines and accessories available for purchase. Find out more about the Friendlies CPAP trial service here or drop into your local Friendlies pharmacy and speak to one of our friendly staff.
The Friendlies CPAP trial has been designed for people who have been recommended CPAP therapy as treatment for OSA. It is an opportunity to use a CPAP machine and accessories for four weeks. The trial includes three consultations with a Friendlies representative who will provide support and advice to help you better manage your condition.
CPAP Trial FAQ’s
1. Can I participate?
The Friendlies CPAP trial is available to anyone aged 18 years or over who has been recommended CPAP therapy by a qualified sleep physician as treatment for OSA. The trial often follows a Friendlies home sleep study however, if you already have proof of a recommendation for CPAP therapy from a qualified sleep physician you may not need to participate in a study.
2. How much does it cost?
The trial costs $200. If you’re a HBF member it will only cost $170. It includes the hire of a trial CPAP machine and accessories for four weeks and three consultations with a Friendlies representative. The trial machine and accessories must be returned to Friendlies at the end of the four weeks. If you decide to purchase your own CPAP machine and accessories a Friendlies representative can help you make a selection. HBF members receive a 15% discount on CPAP machine and accessory purchases at Friendlies.
3. Is it covered by HBF?
HBF members receive a 15% discount on the trial. You cannot claim an additional benefit under your health insurance from HBF for the cost of participating in the trial; however eligible HBF members may be able to claim a benefit on the cost of purchasing a CPAP machine. Depending on your product, annual maximum and frequency limit you may be able to claim up to $720 back. HICAPS instant claiming is available in store for HBF members who are eligible. To find out if you’re eligible, contact HBF on 133 423.
4. What is CPAP therapy?
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is the most common way to treat OSA. The equipment has three basic parts. The first is an air pump. The second is a mask that covers the nostrils or nose and sometimes the mouth. The third is a tube to link the pump and mask. The pump takes air from the room and gently pressurises it. The air blows through the tube and mask into the throat. The pressure of the air keeps the throat open while you are asleep.
5. How do I book a trial?
Speak to your local Friendlies pharmacy to book a CPAP trial.
If you have not participated in a Friendlies home sleep study, you may need to provide proof of a recommendation for CPAP therapy from a qualified sleep physician prior to commencing the trial.
6. What does the trial involve?
The trial involves three consultations with a Friendlies representative over four weeks. At your first appointment a Friendlies representative will explain CPAP therapy to you and give you a trial CPAP machine and accessories to use. You are required to use the machine at home every night for two weeks.
After two weeks you return to the pharmacy for a second appointment. A Friendlies representative will review your sleep data and adjust the settings on your trial CPAP machine accordingly. You are required to use the machine at home every night for a further two weeks.
At the end of four weeks you return to Friendlies for a final appointment. You must return the trial CPAP machine and accessories at this appointment. If the trial was successful and you decide to purchase your own CPAP machine and accessories a Friendlies representative can help you make a selection.
7. What do I bring to my appointments?
You need to bring your trial CPAP machine and accessories to your second and final appointments.
8. What are my payment options?
You can pay for the trial by EFTPOS, credit card or cash. Payment is required upfront at the first appointment.
9. Is there a Medicare rebate for the trial?
There are no Medicare rebates available for the CPAP trial.
10. Can I get a refund once I have paid for the trial?
No refunds are available once you have started the trial. Please discuss your suitability for the trial with a Friendlies representative prior to commencing to ensure it is right for you.
HBF member benefits
If you’re an eligible HBF member with one of the following products, you could claim up to $720 back on the cost of a CPAP machine, depending on your annual maximum and frequency limit.
- Standard Extras
- Premium Extras Mid
- Essentials Plus
- Flexi Extras (if selected)
- Premium Extras Plus
- Prime Health Package