Prison sentences deprive offenders of their liberty, but they can also deprive them of healthcare, due to the difficulty and expense of taking them out of prison for appointments
For prisoners with obstructive sleep apnoea this can result in sleep deprivation – not only for themselves but also cellmates. It also increases the risk of frayed tempers and violence.
To address this problem, a sleep apnoea clinic was set up in a prison, providing access to a service normally only available via hospital outpatient clinics. The service offers equipment to assess prisoners, and for those found to have apnoea, continuous positive airway pressure equipment to prevent the condition affecting their sleep.
The service shows how community and prison healthcare services can collaborate to ensure a prison sentence does not lead to health inequalities.
Ann Shuttleworth is practice and learning editor of Nursing Times