Encouraging OSA Patients to Stick to Their Therapy

CPAP therapy can be tough for patients to get used to, and most need some guidance to stick with it in the first three months. If your medical equipment company (DME) is like most, you probably have a program to help patients stay on track. But are you happy with the results? Do you think there’s room for improvement? If so, consider motivational interviewing.

Traditional coaching tells patients what they need to do to stay on track. It’s more about giving instructions. Motivational Interviewing is different. It’s a team effort between the coach and the patient. The coach uses their expertise to help the patient change their behavior, while also considering the patient’s own priorities, values, and experiences. The patient takes ownership of their change and sees it as their choice. The coach listens without judgment and respects the patient as an equal partner in the process.

Together, they should set goals for therapy, like wanting to feel more rested during the day or improving overall health. They should also come up with a plan to reach these goals and figure out how to deal with any challenges that come up along the way. When checking in with the patient, it’s more important to ask open-ended questions than to just ask yes/no questions. If possible, involving a spouse or caregiver can provide extra support between check-ins.

With the right training and some patience, you can take your therapy program to the next level and provide long-term benefits to your patients. With motivational interviewing, you should see more patients sticking with their therapy sooner and for the long haul.

For more information on motivational interviewing, you can check out resources online such as the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) website or research studies like those cited below:

  • Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) 2019, Understanding Motivational Interviewing
  • Mark S. Aloia, PhD, J. Todd Arnedt, PhD, Matthew Strand, PhD, Richard P. Millman, MD, Belinda Borrelli, PhD, Motivational Enhancement to Improve Adherence to Positive Airway Pressure in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Sleep Volume 36, Issue 11, 1 November 2013.

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