What is the Sleep Medicine Program?
The BCCH Sleep Medicine Program is a multidisciplinary program serving children across the province with sleep problems such as sleep apnea, insomnia, hypersomnia (such as narcolepsy), restless legs syndrome, and parasomnias (unusual behaviours occurring from sleep), among others. It is the only program in British Columbia that is specifically dedicated to the treatment of children with sleep disorders.
The program is committed to improving the delivery of clinical care, and is closely tied to the Sleep At Home research initiative, which is dedicated to identifying and validating new technologies to bring sleep testing closer to the patient’s home.
What services are provided by the Sleep Medicine Program?
The Sleep Medicine Program provides both clinical assessments and objective testing. Over 600 clinic visits take place per year. In addition, nearly 400 overnight sleep studies (polysomnography) are performed annually. Other tests, including multiple sleep latency tests (MSLT), home oximetry, and actigraphy, are also provided.
Who is in the program?
Four physicians are currently part of the program, including one pediatric neurologist, Dr. James Lee, a fellowship-trained sleep specialist. He has a particular interest in hypersomnias, the interaction of epilepsy and sleep, insomnia, and sleep difficulties in children with neurological disorders. Dr. Lee sees patients in the Sleep Medicine Clinic, which is located within the Respiratory Medicine Clinic, weekly. He also does sleep assessments in the Neurology Clinic.
Who should be referred for a Sleep Assessment?
Infants, children, and adolescents with snoring or breathing problems during sleep, difficulty falling or staying asleep, daytime sleepiness, or abnormal nighttime behaviours can be referred to the Sleep Medicine Clinic. Referrals are accepted from family physicians, pediatricians, and other specialists.
How can my child be referred to the Sleep Medicine Program?
Referrals to Dr. Lee can be sent to either the Division of Neurology or the Division of Respiratory Medicine. General sleep referrals should be sent to the Division of Respiratory Medicine.
I don't live in Vancouver. Can my child be assessed by the Sleep Medicine Program?
Yes. If your child needs a coordinated test, such as an overnight sleep study, they can be seen in the clinic the day before or after the study takes place. Selected patients can be seen by Virtual Health, which allows them to be assessed from home, without the need to travel to Vancouver.