BROOKSVILLE — The only hospital-based sleep lab in Hernando County will open in the coming weeks.
Brooksville Regional Hospital hopes to start helping patients with sleep disorders by the end of August. Aside from the Florida Sleep Institute in Spring Hill, the new hospital lab will be the only other sleep diagnostic facility in Hernando.
"We recognized a need in the county, especially for people who live on the eastern side," said Corey Lively, Brooksville Regional chief operating officer. "Our goal is to eventually grow into a full sleep disorder center."
The lab will be in the Medical Arts Complex, next to the main hospital building on Cortez Boulevard. Residents with disorders such as sleep apnea, where a person experiences trouble breathing while sleeping, will be monitored by staff to determine a diagnosis and a possible remedy.
The lab also will be a place where patients ordered to undergo specific tests, such as a 72-hour electroencephalogram, which measures electrical activity in the brain, can be monitored.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the main hospital building, Lively said residents who come to the two-bed sleep lab can expect a calm, quiet place where they drift off into their dreams.
"The goal will be to help people overcome their disorder, whether it be through the use of devices or in more severe cases, surgery," he said.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, there are 67 accredited sleep disorders facilities in the state. Nationally, there are 1,560 such sleep facilities.
The organization is responsible for approving the growing number of certified sleep disorder centers. In 2003, there were 29 such accredited Florida facilities, and a total 692 across the country.
Lively said Brooksville Regional will seek the accreditation. The Sleep Institute in Spring Hill is approved by the academy.
In the near future, the hospital plans to announce a board-certified physician in sleep medicine who will oversee the program. Staff will also have to be trained to work in the lab. And eventually, as it grows into larger center, a broader range of studies, disorders and patient types can be seen and treated.
In 2006, Brooksville Regional moved into its $53-million facility and has since focused on expanding health care programs in Hernando. Along with sister hospital Spring Hill Regional Hospital, Brooksville Regional is also owned by Naples-based Health Management Associates.
Chandra Broadwater can be reached at email@example.com, or (352) 848-1432.