Getting Help for Patients
Mary Dorr, FNP, who works in a rural family practice in northern Louisiana, said parents will sometimes bring a child to the office and say, “I know they look fine now, but sometimes there are just pauses when they sleep, and it gets me really concerned.” A referral to a pediatric otolaryngologist will often mean a two-hour drive and a six- to eight-week wait, she said, so she wondered whether a sleep study should be ordered right away.
Explore This IssueMarch 2020
Dr. Thompson said sleep-study access might be difficult there and that otolaryngology referral “is probably going to expedite the care that the child needs.”
Dr. Ishman said ordering oximetry could be a fast, inexpensive, and good first option, since many centers don’t perform sleep studies on infants, even those that study older children.
“That might be an option for you if you want to do something that will expedite their care,” she said. “And then you’ll be able to figure out, ‘Hey, this is something that I’m going to send to the ER (at a larger center)’ or ‘This is something I can wait six to eight weeks for a pediatric otolaryngologist.”
Thomas Collins is a freelance medical writer based in Florida.