Flat Screen TVs in Rooms Let Patients See Test Results or Use Internet

Dr. Anuj Chandra’s Advanced Center for Sleep Disorders recently completed an expansion that has more than doubled its capacity to provide diagnostic testing and treatment for sleep disorders.

The center is in its fourth year of operation. Dr. Chandra and his staff are celebrating both the expansion and National Sleep Awareness Week® with an open house from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Friday March 6. During the open house, patients and the general public are welcome to tour the expansion and meet Dr. Chandra and his staff. The Center is located at 6073 East Brainerd Road.

National Sleep Awareness Week, which takes place March 1-8, is a public education, information, and awareness campaign that coincides with the return of Daylight Saving Time on March 8, the annual “springing forward” of clocks that can cause Americans to lose an hour of sleep.

“Sleep disorders are highly under diagnosed. On average narcolepsy is not diagnosed for 15 years, and sleep apnea for 10 years,” said Dr. Chandra. “One reason for the delay is that people see testing and treatment as being uncomfortable. The symptoms of sleep disorders can be subtle and can mimic other medical problems like depression and chronic fatigue syndrome. Most people think snoring is just a nuisance. They don’t realize that it can be a sign of underlying sleep apnea, which is a potentially life threatening condition. That’s why we first put the Center in a former house, so the setting could be as familiar and comfortable as possible.”

As soon as the Center opened in 2006, demand for testing and treatment was strong enough to warrant an expansion. “We considered moving, but I really wanted to preserve the homey setting. This facility is unique. It has its own charm yet it’s giving patients the best of modern medicine. It’s the only one sleep center in this area in a house setting. I also wanted to stay in the East Brainerd area. My family lives in this area, and I feel invested here.”

The expansion project went forward despite the economic slowdown. “Even though everything has slowed down, I have full faith in the resilience of the American people. The economy will turn around,” said Dr. Chandra.

One challenge during the expansion was to manage construction while continuing to see patients. “We had to build while we were open and doing sleep studies,” said Dr. Chandra. “The patients really rallied behind us. We had no complaints about construction issues. Our patients were very understanding. We were blessed.”

The new expansion added four larger patient rooms with attached bathrooms to the original three rooms and created a much larger control room for the sleep technicians who monitor patients during testing. The overall size of the Center increased from 1,800 to over 4,000 square feet.

The expansion addresses both patient comfort and medical needs. Bedrooms include 42-inch flat screen televisions that double as computer monitors. Patients can watch television or use the Internet before they go to sleep. The Center also caters to a lot of busy executives who want to have access to the Internet. Many people go straight to work in the morning after completing their overnight sleep studies and need to check their e-mail. Dr. Chandra can use the same screen to show patients the results of their sleep studies when they return for follow up. “Providing this kind of visual feedback makes the patient much more involved. It helps them understand the findings of the sleep study better than just looking at a printout,” said Dr. Chandra. “They can see their brain waves, where they stop breathing during the night, and a variety of other measurements.”

All patient rooms are centrally wired into an expanded control room with the latest and best technology, where sleep technicians monitor patients during overnight testing. All testing equipment is networked through this control room, and there are redundant connections, so if one computer goes down, a technician can easily switch to a backup computer.

Sound proofing to help patients sleep comfortably also created an environmental benefit. The sound proofing material – double sound bat behind the drywall — is so thick that the house rarely needs to use its heating in the winter.

The parking lot is now paved and more accessible for people with disabilities. Inside, patient rooms and bathrooms have very wide doors to accommodate electric wheelchairs.

Dr. Anuj Chandra is a board certified sleep specialist who treats patients in the Chattanooga area and trains physicians internationally. He is also affiliated with several other local area hospitals and is available for consultation there. The Advanced Center for Sleep Disorders – located at 6073 East Brainerd Road – offers state-of-the-art sleep diagnostic testing in a home-like setting built in a converted house, and treatment for sleep disorders like sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, and others. More information can also be obtained on the Center’s web site at www.sleepforhealth.org.

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