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CPAP not allowed In homeless shelter


#1

Hello,
I am currently residing at a homeless shelter in downtown Dallas and I have been approved to receive a free Cpap machine from parkland hospital. However, the shelter says that I am not allowed to use my machine in the shelter because it is a “safety issue”. I have a reserved bed away from general population and a designated electrical outlet for my personal use. Is there any one that can give me any advice on this?

Thank you.


#2

Is there a way you can get Parkland or your doctor to intervene? This is ridiculous, and very risky behaviour on their part.

I would tell them it certainly is a safety issue. YOUR safety. Make sure they know you need the machine in order to breathe at night.

Ask them to please write down their safety concern on paper so you can work with your doctor and your social worker at the hospital to address it. Chances are, they won’t want to put it in writing. If they see you’re going to be persistent and self advocate, maybe they won’t have such a dumb knee-jerk reaction to your CPAP.


#3

Also, in addition to the above answer, I would assume that this is a new machine you’re getting. If so & it’s being paid by Medicaid or Medicare, you will have to complete a Compliance Period during the first 90 days in order to qualify in keeping the machine. If it’s a brand new machine & it’s coming from a DME (Durable Medical Equipment vendor), ask them if they will provide some kind of certification that the machine is brand new & has passed a Safety Inspection by them. Generally, when you enter a medical facility like a hospital or rehab facility, they will require to test your equipment themselves to see if it’s working properly. (If you ever find yourself in a hospital or rehab setting, be sure to emphasize to them to not even touch your machine unless they personally know how to work or use the same exact CPAP machine themselves & to not fiddle with any of the settings or dials on the machine. I once had an idiot nurse break a CPAP machine in-hospital. When I caught her fiddling around with the machine, I asked her if she had ever used that type of machine before herself & she answered that I was the first patient ever on her service that had come with a CPAP machine & admitted that she didn’t know how they work. I asked her “Then why did you feel that you needed to mess with my $1600 CPAP machine?” Sure enough she somehow did something that caused my machine to not ever work again. I, & my doctor, were so pissed. And the hospital refused to pay to replace it. Needless to say, my doctor filed a grievance against this nurse & I hope she at least learned a lesson that she won’t forget & can perhaps pass the lesson on to other staff). The reason these facilities check out electronic equipment that you bring in is to make sure there’s no faulty wiring or short that could cause a fire or spark an oxygen explosion while in use in the room (could be your roommate is having oxygen treatment). This is what I think is probably going on with the administrators at the shelter, but I don’t think they really know why they’re saying this about a medically necessary piece of equipment. I don’t know if they think this is something we use as a choice instead of treating a serious health condition or what they think a CPAP machine is for. They have kind of taken a simple procedure too far in the direction of fear & don’t really know the reasons they “think” this CPAP device isn’t allowed.

Also, I think this issue might fall under ADA Guidelines (American Disabilities Act), which says you can’t be discriminated against for reasons of your handicap, nor refuse provision to reasonably accommodate said handicap. Obviously you are handicapped in your ability to sleep at night without fearing you might die in your sleep because you stop breathing periodically (sleep apneas) & they need to reasonably accommodate your CPAP equipment just like they would someone who needs to use a wheelchair or walker or some other piece of medical equipment in order to accommodate their particular handicap.

But, just to be on the safe side, get your doctor to write you a Medical Script (which I’m sure your doctor will be pleased to do) that spells out why it is imperative that you use a CPAP machine for your health condition (not that I think the particulars of your health condition is any of their business. But just to straighten out these ignorant people, the Medical Script & Inspection Certification might just straighten them out).

And if all this fails, I would do as recommended above - get your doctor involved in straightening them out. He might need to talk to someone up the chain of command - the people overseeing the shelter that you see there from day to day actually have bosses higher up than them that they answer to & sometimes just the threat to contact their Supervisor coming from someone in a position of power, such as your doctor, will be enough to straighten them out. After all, they don’t want their supervisors to hear complaints about their performance, especially in regard to how they are treating people with a disability, such as this is.

Wishing you the best in this situation.