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Mask Fitting
Mask Fitting
Soon my search for a new DME will begin. There are two or three locals on my list and hopefully, there will be at least one that takes a professional approach to fitting the patient with a proper mask. My current DME offers a very limited selection and has absolutely no interest in matching the client up with the right mask. On the forum it if often mentioned that the DME will fit a client properly even if it requires trying several mask types and sizes. Before I start talking with these folks I am curious about how they approach trying several masks and even allowing returns within a limited time. Do they have a box of "test" masks that they reuse from person to person or do they and/or the distributors absorb the cost and discard masks or cushions after each use.

I ask this question more from an interest in having as much knowledge as possible going in but we can not ignore the possibility that the test mask has been in contact with who knows what. So, if you have had personal experience with this your input will be most welcome.

At this point, thanks to the forum, I am comfortable with my treatment except for mask selection and fit.

Thanks in advance for your input.

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RE: Mask Fitting
What I have experienced in the past is that they do indeed have a limited number available. Often they seem to have the latest models available, like car dealership would have as they try to unload what the manufacturer has fed them.

The fitting usually starts with a discussion of what problems you're having with your current mask. If I were you I'd call each of them and have that conversation over the phone. Then, based on that, go in for a fitting.

I don't know what they do with their "used" masks, either. I suppose it depends on the circumstances. Sometimes they insist that you return them, and sometimes they insist that you don't. Most of the time the person you're talking to doesn't really understand what's going on, and is simply trying to pass on to you what their boss has told them to do and say.

The bottom line is that you need to be an educated consumer. It helps, even if you're lucky enough to find a truly knowledgeable and conscientious provider.
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RE: Mask Fitting
My 2nd DME has a selection of masks that they 'disinfect' in some unknown manner between patients. They take great care in fitting the mask and help you choose one that will work, and there is a one month period in which you can exchange the mask for another one (pretty sure there is a limit to how many times you can do this in a calendar year). They only carried select brands though - I know they had ResMed and Philips Respironics, but not Fisher & Paykel. They will do special orders but I do not think that has the same exchange policy.

1st DME had some masks on hand. Fitting amounted to gauging your reaction to the mask upon trying it on. The rejected trials would be sent back to the company as part of the return policy between the DME & the manufacturer (within one month for reimbursement). The DME further had a return policy for clients - for one month, you can try out any mask and if it doesn't work, exchange for another. However… in reality the availability of the DME and time in receiving the new mask places a limit on you. With this DME, I was not required to return the rejects.

Be sure to purchase a mask in a package that is either unopened, or opened in your presence.

Also, if choosing one of the nasal masks that come with multiple size cushions, insist that you leave with ALL of the cushions it came with even if you think you've been fitted with the right size (I made that mistake and had to go back for a different size that should have already been in my possession).

Educating yourself on the options before you go is worthwhile. Especially download the fitting guides for the masks you like and have a good idea of what size you will need before you go. At least understand how you are supposed to be fitted for specific masks, so you can tell if the DME is fitting you correctly.

Best of luck!

correction: fitting by 1st DME was also based on his experience as a sleep technician (or whatever, can't think of the proper title); so he can eyeball people and have a pretty good idea of what will or won't work
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