Our sister magazine RT: For Decision Makers in Respiratory Care profiles The Sleep Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which exclusively treats sleep disorders in children.

While the issues addressed at the CHOP Sleep Center are similar to those addressed at adult-centric sleep labs, the patient base differs quite dramatically. “When children come to us, they often are suffering from other complex medical conditions in addition to their sleep disorder,” Marcus added. “Therefore, our staff of physicians and technicians has to be incredibly diverse in their backgrounds. There’s a multidisciplinary nature to our group.”

As Marcus explained, on any given day, The Sleep Center at CHOP consists of psychologists, pulmonologists, neurologists, sleep techs, and respiratory therapists. The specialists work together to evaluate and manage children with obstructive sleep apnea, as well as chronic lung diseases, degenerative muscle disease with chronic respiratory failure, hypoventilation syndromes, and respiratory control disorders.

According to Melissa S. Xanthopoulos, PhD, pediatric psychologist and CPAP adherence coordinator for The Sleep Center at CHOP, it’s this cohesiveness among specialists and departments that has helped the center to grow and evolve over the last several years. “The very structure of the Sleep Center is quite unique, with so many different disciplines working closely together. We’re all considerate of each other’s background, and we learn from each other,” she added. “For example, when a child is diagnosed with a sleep disorder requiring noninvasive ventilatory support in the form of CPAP or BiPAP, the staff works together to help the family understand the causes and consequences of the disorder, how to use and care for the equipment, and how to best implement the treatment into the child’s routine and family’s lifestyle.”