Donate your old sleep apnea machine to become a ventilator

KINGSTON, R.I. (WLNE) – Students and faculty at the University of Rhode Island have partnered with the non-profit VenitlatorProject.Org to collect old sleep apnea machines and convert them into ventilators for COVID-19 patients.

It’s a joint effort in partnership with the Department of Health and the Commerce Corp.

VentilatorProject.Org estimates there are 8.5 million sleep apnea machines in homes in America. 2.9 million of those CPAPs and BiPAP machines are not in use. The team estimates that 9,000 such machines are available in Rhode Island.

If you would like to donate a sleep apnea machine you are no longer using, here’s how:

  • Remove any parts that have been in contact with a person (masks, hoses).
  • Discard any water remaining in your unit’s humidifier.
  • Wash your hands and wipe down all surfaces with an unscented disinfecting spray or wipe.
  • Place the machine in an unscented garbage bag and tie it closed.
  • Wash your hands again, and write the machine’s information (machine type, make, model) on a piece of paper and tape it to the bag.
  • Drop off your bag at one of the 24 designated fire stations, making sure to maintain 6 feet between you and other individuals and follow proper hand-washing procedures before, during and after delivery.
    Go to www.ventilatorproject.org/donate-now to find your closest drop-off point
  • Do not bring your machine to a collection site if you or someone in your home has been sick in the last 14 days.
  • Only donate machines that you own, not ones that are leased by your insurer.

After you donate your machine, it will be brought to a processing center at the University of Rhode Island, where technical volunteers from across the University will work to sanitize, test, document and refurbish the machines under the oversight of Tao Wei, URI associate professor of electrical engineering.

Refurbished machines will be distributed to hospitals and health care facilities in Rhode Island as needed, and then to other hospital out of state in need.

It is important to note that these machines should not be used at-home to treat COVID-19 — it is imperative that patients with COVID-19 who need respiratory support be in a hospital.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island