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Dream Station vs. AirSense 10 for Her & Dreamwear mask

I am newly diagnosed with sleep apnea since late August.  Took forever to get into the DME, so used my husband's old REMstar Auto with a CPAP setting of 10.  Felt AMAZING after using it just twice...and I've NEVER felt rested in the morning.  NEVER!  My sleep doc suspects I've had some apnea since childhood, which led to a whole host of other things...many already starting to resolve.  

Less than impressed with the DME.  Was told I'd have a "private, one-on-one"with an RT after a 'short class with others on sleep apnea.'  Not so.  Had a group of 9-10 new users all brought into 1 room.  Each of us were given a Dream Station pre-programmed with our RX settings.  The 'class' consisted of how to turn the machine on & off and change the filters.  I had expected to be presented with the different options available in machines as well as masks.  Nope.  Had 2 choices for masks, 1 for nose breathers and 1 for mouth breathers.  I asked about the Respironics Dreamwear and was told, "Oh, we don't provide that one because it isn't returnable once opened."  Huh?   I'm guessing that means they don't get a refund or rebate on a return of that mask.  Given a F&P Brevida...not too bad, but not really what I was interested in.  Had been using my husband's old Nuance Pro, but the headgear was really worn out & stretched, so I was happy to try something else.    

It was 4pm on a Friday afternoon and really felt pushed out the door at that point.  And, as it had taken over a dozen phone calls (all unanswered) until I threatened to switch to another DME...I decided just to take my Dream Station and run, knowing I could figure this out on my own.

Got the Dreamwear headgear with nasal pillows and really liked it, but after using the Brevida for a couple nights, decided to get a nasal cushion for the Dreamwear.  Unforunately, I also came down with the flu the day after getting my Dream Station, so haven't felt so great since getting the Dream Station, but won't blame the machine or settings, yet.  First couple of nights using the nasal cusion was great, but after I turned on the Opti-Start last night, I had numerous leaks and the headgear kept moving on me.  It's probably a little big on me, so I ordered the smaller headgear frame today.  

I also dislike that it doesn't come with a small connection hose like most other masks do.  I contacted Phillips Resperonics about that...their response was they would pass my suggestion along, but they don't recommend using a short hose with it, because they 'can't verify what it will do to the pressures.'  Whatever.  I've found that the short tubing from the Respironics Nuance Pro works PERFECTLY.... my husband had an old mask that I harvested the tubing from...and I've also found it available online, so have ordered several more for back up.  It really needs to have a swivel joint a foot or so away from the headgear, to maximize the movement.  

After all this...I've read quite a bit on the ResMed AirSense 10 for Her, and am more than perturbed that I wasn't even given the option for this one.  The more I've read about it, I would have really liked to give it a try.  The way my insurance terms work, I'm actually only "renting' the Dream Station for the next 10 months.  If I remain compliant for the 10 months, the machine will belong to me after 10 months.  I suspect I am going to more than pay for the machine out-right with my co-pays in that time.

I travel pretty regularly, and it looks like the AirSense may also be more convenient for that use, since I have to have a humidifier to prevent a sore throat in the morning.  It looks to be a bit smaller than the Dream Station with it's humidifier.  

I am not a neophyte to healthcare.  I've been an RN for 36 years and am still working in acute care at bedside.  After what I've gone through in just a short month...I now understand why so many of my patients with sleep apnea never follow through with using the machine, if their experience with a DME was even half as bad as mine.  I knew as a nurse I had the contacts and meanness ;-) to get what I wanted.   But, I am also getting my MSN in education, because I believe education is so KEY to everything we do for our patients.  I am really, really irritated at my experience with the DME, if that is the typical experience most patients get.  You can be sure I will be letting my sleep MD know of my dissastifaction.  

i am so grateful this board exists, with all the wisdom and experience here to help others.  And, I'm also grateful for all the online suppliers who make equipment more readily available.  My husband quit using his CPAP a couple years ago due to poor support, and has been using an oral mouthpiece.  However, he's now willing to give it another try, after seeing the Dreamwear mask and my successes, so far.  Thanks to this board's help, I've learned the ins & outs of both his & my machines.  

My thoughts are to just keep the Dream Station and give it to him, and then get an AirSense 10 for myself.  No need in my husband having to go through another sleep study, and between the clinical operation manuals and SleepyHead, I suspect we can manage his and mine quite well, with our primary care MD (who also has sleep apnea & is the one who pushed me into a study.)  

Anyone have experience with both the Dream Station and the AirSense 10 for Her?  Or, just thoughts on the AirSense 10 for Her?    

Thanks in advance for all your help!

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Since your insurance is paying for the machine, I doubt that you'd be able to give the machine to your husband and get another one for yourself.

However, this being just a rental, is it possible for your doctor to write you a prescription specifically for the machine that you'd like? If it includes "dispense as written" the DME must honor what is written. Whether or not the insurance will cover it may be a different matter, you'd have to find out.
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Hi jaw2004,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
Good luck as you start CPAP therapy, hang in there for more responses to your post.
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Did you get the Dreamstation Auto, or one of the CPAPs?

Just to stoke the flames of dissent, there is a "AirSense S10 For Her with Heated Humidifier" on Amazon for $545. If that is less than your co-pay for whatever you got, why not get that delivered, then take your machine back and let them have it.
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The same seller has another one for $488.

(in the description is says that it includes the heated humidifier)
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Ooo...I missed that!  I have been stalking all sorts of CPAP supplies off of Amazon!

I will definitely take a look.
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My RX did not say dispense as written, but was very generous in it's requirements: PAP devide data-capable, wifi/bluetooth capapble, ResMed or Respironics preferred.    I am currently petitioning the DME to provide me with an AirSense for Her to trial.  

I also plan to talk to my sleep doc about the AirSense for Her.  My sleep doc has done research and writes about sleep apnea in women.  I wish I had found & read through these boards before I allowed the DME to just decide for me.  

I've been a nurse for 36 years, but this has been a brand-new experience...and given me a whole new understanding of why more of my patients don't treat their sleep apnea.  We really must be our own advocates....I've always believed that & taught my patients that....but we have to really know & understand the field before we can advocate.
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(09-28-2017, 10:41 PM)jaw2004 Wrote: ...It was 4pm on a Friday afternoon and really felt pushed out the door at that point.  And, as it had taken over a dozen phone calls (all unanswered) until I threatened to switch to another DME...


...I am currently petitioning the DME to provide me with an AirSense for Her to trial. 

In your first post, you mentioned that you'd made a lot of phone calls and threatened to switch to another DME.

Would it be appropriate to just return the machine you were given and switch to another DME now?

You are lucky to have such a good doctor. Unfortunately a generous prescription forces you to be more assertive to get the specific machine that you want. Which is fine; there's nothing wrong with that. However if you prefer less potential confrontation, perhaps you could ask your doctor to write a specific prescription for you. Of course another DME may be more open to your input too.
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I received a phone call from the DME this morning at 8:00.  They told me they were sorry I wasn't happy with the Dream Station, but they did carry the AirSense 10 and would be happy to exchange it for me.  I clarified and asked if it was the AirSense 10 for Her, and they said, "no" they don't carry that one.  I told them there was a difference between the two (anyone else notice the irony of the patient..me...telling the supplier...them...there is a difference between these machines?  BESIDES their profit margin?)  Yes, I said that, too.  I'm not afraid to go there.  

I asked if they could order it for me, because if not, I had already contacted a DME in Chattanooga who had one in stock and were ready to FedEx it to me overnight.  At that point, they said they would check and get back to me.  I received another phone call only 5 minutes later, saying they would order the AirSense 10 for Her for me and have it ready for me to pick up next week.  

While this has been frustrating, it has also pushed me to do my own 'crash course' in sleep apnea and machines.  And, because this is the DME commonly recommended by my sleep doc's office (which is a large university medical center clinic) I actually have an opportunity to impact significant change in this area.  I know my doctor is aware of the different machines, and writes the RX based on what different insurances will pay,or what patients are able/willing to pay.  I've reached out to my insurance to get the specifics of their coverage, and whether they limit the choice of machine, supplier, etc...  I hope by the next time I see her in clinic, I will be able to give her a 'first person' account, both as a patient with sleep apnea & a professional clinician, of the benefits of one machine over the other.  I'm really something of a geek when it comes to research and outcomes in healthcare.  

This board has been a great help in my learning curve, and I'm going to recommend this board to all of my patients who struggle with managing their sleep apnea.  Just to give you an idea....I work with patients with numerous chronic conditions.  Probably at least 80% have either diagnosed or undiagnosed sleep apnea.  Treating sleep apnea appropriately will make a difference in overall health in our country.  

I am so much better with the Dream Station, already.  Am looking forward to giving the AirSense for Her a try and see what difference it makes.
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Way to go!!! Thank you for detailing out your experience with the DME. It is quite empowering.
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