If your aging relative uses a CPAP machine to treat sleep apnea or some other condition, you might be surprised that the machine needs to be cleaned regularly. This may be especially true if the older adult has been using a CPAP since before you became their family caregiver. How often the machine is cleaned is a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer to clean it each day. Some say that certain parts of the machine should be cleaned daily and other parts weekly. The best way to decide how often your aging relative’s machine is cleaned is to follow the manufacturers and doctor’s advice.
Importance of Cleaning a CPAP
When you consider that only one person is using the CPAP, you might wonder why cleaning it is a big deal. After all, it’s only their own germs the person is breathing, right? In reality, a CPAP machine is a breeding ground for lots of nasty bacteria. Some of the things that regular cleaning can prevent are:
- Exposure to bacteria.
- Exposure to mold spores.
- Increased risk of sinus infections and pneumonia.
In addition, not cleaning the machine can make it smell bad, making it unpleasant to use and possibly causing the older adult to neglect using it. The machine may also build up a mineral residue and break down more easily. In addition, the warranty on the machine may depend on regular cleanings.
Tips for Cleaning
If you’re unfamiliar with cleaning a CPAP machine, it can seem very complicated. Hopefully your older family member has kept the instruction book that came with the machine. If not, try looking for it online as many manufacturers post copies of their user manuals on their websites. Some general tips for cleaning a CPAP machine are:
- Always unplug the machine before cleaning to prevent electrocution.
- Use warm water and mild dish soap to clean the mask, tubing, headgear, and connectors. You can also add vinegar to the water, if you prefer.
- Wipe the external parts of the machine with a soft, damp cloth to remove dust.
- Rinse or replace the filters according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Allow all the parts to thoroughly air dry before reassembling the machine.
If all of this sounds more complicated and time consuming than you have time for, home care can help. Home care providers can assist with daily and weekly cleanings, taking one of the tasks off family caregivers’ shoulders. Home care providers can also help to put your aging relative to bed at night, ensuring they use their CPAP machine correctly each night.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care services in Manalapan, NJ, contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care’s Ocean/Monmouth Division. Call today 732-719-7011.