The Practice of Sleep Medicine Around The World: Challenges, Knowledge Gaps and Unique Needs

Sleep Medicine in Australia

Author(s): Nicole Grivell, Alexander Sweetman, Nicole Lovato, Andrew Vakulin and Ching Li Chai-Coetzer *

Pp: 49-66 (18)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815049367123010008

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


This chapter explores the current context of sleep medicine in Australia. Detailed descriptions of the providers involved in sleep health care, the services available for the assessment and management of sleep disorders, the professional organisations supporting and advocating for sleep medicine, Australian clinical guidelines, and the barriers limiting the provision of best practice sleep health care are presented within this chapter. Sleep medicine is available within Australia by means of publicly funded specialist-led sleep services such as public hospital outpatient clinics and sleep laboratories, and private referral options including specialist sleep physicians, sleep psychologists and private sleep laboratories. Access to publicly funded sleep services are often limited by long wait times for assessment and management, insufficient numbers of sleep-trained providers and long distances to travel for those individuals located in rural and remote areas. Private sleep services offer shorter waiting times than public sleep services, however the associated costs of accessing private treatment mean that it is limited to those with the financial means to afford it. Subsidies for many treatments for sleep disorders, such as continuous positive airway pressure and mandibular advancement splints, are also restricted to those on government benefits and/or those who hold private health insurance coverage. Research exploring new models of care for sleep health care within the primary care setting is currently being conducted in an effort to improve access to care for the many Australians living with sleep disorders.

Keywords: Australia, Barriers to care, Healthcare delivery, Insomnia, Obstructive sleep apnea, Sleep medicine.

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