Medina Journal-Register — The legendary comedian W.C. Fields once said, “The only cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.”
While funny to some, insomnia is a sleep disorder.
Over the years, sleep disorders have been determined to be linked to a variety of health issues. With that in mind, Medina Memorial Hospital will be opening a sleep clinic on Tuesday.
According to Doug Burke, the office manager at the Sleep and Wellness Center in Amherst, the addition of a clinic in Medina has been in the works for a while.
“One of my colleagues started this project 10 years ago,” Burke said. “He left, he came back, and in the past two years the hospital has been a good partner in helping us get this done.”
The Amherst center is partnering with MMH to run the local clinic. The hospital’s location will be open at least four days a week (Tuesday through Friday), Burke said, with hours from 8:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Dr. Kenneth Halliwell of Niagara Neurology will provide interpretations and consultations for patients who use the clinic.
Burke said sleep clinics provide necessary testing for the diagnosis of sleep apnea. The disease is a dangerous one, as it can cause “all kinds of disruptions by affecting things like heart disease, high blood pressure, or causing a stroke,” Burke explained.
“Sleep is a very important, restorative function,” he continued. “Apnea wakes you up constantly because you need more oxygen. Doctors are finding that if they are able to diagnose and treat sleep apnea they have more success in treating other things.”
Brian Banas, MMH Chief Operations Officer, agreed.
“It’s important because if you can identify the issues and treat them, it adds to a person’s quality of life,” he said. “People will struggle with a lot of fatigue if they have an undiagnosed sleep disorder, and it can affect a person’s physical health, too.”
Banas said the addition of the clinic came about after it was determined that local patients were being forced to wait anywhere from four to six weeks for their sleep studies to be done. And then, once a slot opened, those patients, many of whom were older, had to drive to either Brockport, Batavia, or Lockport.
“The supply was not adequate with the demand,” Banas explained. “There was a community need for it, and we decided it made sense to have a lab here so people didn’t have to travel outside the area.”
Banas said the Sleep and Wellness Center is also partnering with some of the hospitals in the surrounding area, so the same “high quality service will now be available close to home.”
Burke said the partnership with the hospital to form Orleans Community Health Sleep Services was attractive because of the hospital’s location.
“We try to locate our centers conveniently to make it easier for patients,” he said. “Many older patients don’t want to drive long distances.”
Banas said he anticipates approximately 700 sleep studies will be conducted in the first year of the new facility’s operation. He said Tuesday’s opening will not have any fanfare. However, in July, Banas said the hospital will likely host a ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration.