BackgroundA growing number of positive airway pressure (PAP) device users will develop physical/sensory impairments such as arthritis. For these individuals, the usability of their PAP devices (e.g., efficiency and satisfaction) may impact the frequency and safety of device usage. Questionnaires to assess PAP usability are unavailable; therefore, we developed the Usability of Sleep Apnea Equipment-Positive Airway Pressure (USE-PAP) questionnaire.
MethodsQuestionnaire development included in-depth interviews to identify relevant content areas, a technical advisory panel to review/edit items, cognitive interviews to refine items, and a cross-sectional survey of Veterans Affairs sleep clinic patients assessing PAP device usability overall (one multi-item scale), usability of PAP components (multi-item scales for machine controls, mask/headgear, tubing, and humidifier), frequency of usability-related issues (one multi-item scale), PAP device characteristics, and demographics.
ResultsAfter conducting 19 in-depth interviews, a panel meeting, and 10 cognitive interviews, we administered the survey to 100 PAP device users (67% ≥60 years; 90% male). The items assessing machine control usability received the least favorable ratings. Twenty percent of respondents reported difficulty getting equipment ready for use, and 33 percent had difficulty cleaning equipment. The six multi-item scales had excellent internal consistency reliability (alpha ≥0.84) and item-rest correlations (≥0.39).
ConclusionsThis study provides initial support for the USE-PAP for measuring PAP device usability. Studies that include large samples are needed to further evaluate the psychometric properties of the USE-PAP. In addition, comparisons of USE-PAP responses with direct observations of PAP-related tasks and objectively measured PAP adherence are needed to fully evaluate the questionnaire.