Across the country, there is a shortage of the ventilators that hospitals need to provide care for people who have COVID-19. Multiple groups are developing strategies to modify PAP machines so that they can be used as ventilators.
One of these groups is the COVID-19 Ventilator Rapid Response Team. This coalition includes UC Berkeley engineers, emergency room doctors, critical care physicians, and pulmonologists. They also have set up a website, VentilatorSOS.com, where you can fill out a form to indicate that you are interested in donating a CPAP or BPAP machine.
Another group is the Ventilator Project. It has joined forces with the University of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, and the Rhode Island Department of Health. They are collecting, refurbishing and modifying CPAP and BPAP machines to help hospitals that are treating patients affected by COVID-19. Collection sites are set up at designated fire station drop-off locations throughout Rhode Island. Learn more at VentilatorProject.org.
Modified PAP machines can be helpful for COVID-19 patients who are experiencing mild symptoms or who are improving. These machines are not meant to be used for patients with serious cases of COVID-19.
It is important to note that PAP machines must be modified to function as ventilators. PAP machines that have been not been modified do not function as ventilators in patients who have COVID-19.
If you have questions about using or cleaning your CPAP, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.