Frequently Asked Questions

A respiratory physician is a medical doctor who has had special training in the field of lung and breathing issues.
A paediatric respiratory physician has completed an additional minimum of 6 years of specialist training in paediatric and respiratory medicine.
To be qualified as a paediatric sleep physician, further training in the area of sleep and sleep disorders is required and this takes at least an additional year of training.

If there are problems with your child’s breathing. Problems may include persistent or unusual sounding coughing, noisy breathing, wheeziness, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing when exercising, difficulty breathing when sleeping, snoring when sleeping.

Some common conditions that are treated and managed by a respiratory physician include but are not limited to include asthma, cystic fibrosis, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, etc.

Discuss your concerns with a GP or medical specialist who can write a referral. The referral needs to be written to one of our doctors. A current referral is required for a consultation and /or for a sleep study. All sleep study referrals require a consultation with one of our doctors first prior to the sleep study.

It is best to fax or email the referral to Respiratory and Sleep for Kids on:
fax: 08 7231 1237, or
email: [email protected]

When we receive the referral letter we will contact the parent/guardian to make an appointment with one of our doctors.

Alternatively, if you have the referral letter you can contact us to make an appointment on 07 7231 1237. A referral letter is required before making an appointment.

To see one of our doctors you must have a referral from a GP or a medical specialist (for example a general paediatrician or ENT surgeon). GP referrals are valid for 12 months and specialist referrals are valid for 3 months commencing from the first time you see one of our doctors.

Up to date referrals are essential in order for you to claim Medicare benefits associated with your appointment(s). Please bear this in mind when booking for your initial consult. Referrals must be renewed if there are any consultations beyond this time period.

Your first appointment with the doctor usually last 40-45 minutes. If is helpful to come 10 minutes prior to assist in completing some documents/forms. When coming to see us for the first time it is important to ensure that you have the following:

  • Referral (if your doctor has not sent one already). A referral from a GP or specialist is essential in claiming Medicare rebates. Having a referral also helps to determine the reason why you are coming to see us. It also helps to provide some background information.
  • Medicare Card
  • Private Health Insurance Card (if applicable)
  • Health Care Card (if applicable)
  • Relevant test results and/or X-rays, scans, blood tests etc
  • List of medications and/or allergies

Another term used for sleep study is polysomnography. It is a noninvasive test used in order to diagnose particular sleep conditions that measures various parameters such as brain activity, breathing, heart rate, leg movements, eye moments, blood oxygen levels.

It is the Gold Standard in diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. It involves an overnight stay in hospital. It is not painful or harmful for your child.

The sleep study is performed at The Memorial Hospital. Having a sleep study performed at The Memorial Hospital will require an overnight hospital admission. Dr John Wong is a preferred provider for all major private health funds. Hence if your health fund covers the sleep study there is no out of pocket expense. Most health funds do not have excess fees for dependents. However it is important to check with your private health insurance about what costs may apply to you prior to the hospital admission.

A Polysomnography can be used to diagnose many sleep disorders.

The most common sleep disorder in children is Sleep Apnoea. Sleep Apnoea is when your child frequently stops breathing while sleeping and restarts breathing again. Other signs that your child may have sleep apnoea is:

  • Snoring
  • Heavy laboured breathing
  • Gasping for breath while sleeping
  • Mouth breathing
  • Sleeping in unusual positions (with neck tilted back)
  • Excessive tiredness / falling asleep during the day – young children who are excessively tired during the day usually are hyperactive or can’t concentrate for long which can lead to behavioural issues and poor performance at school.
  • Restless night sleep
  • Restless sleep
  • Sweating during sleep

Other reasons why a polysomnography may be needed include:

  • Seizures that are related to sleep
  • Periodic limb movement disorders – legs move while sleeping
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • REM sleep disorders – this is when people act out their dreams and can include symptoms of sleep walking and sleep talking.

If after sleep study confirmation your child becomes unwell please advise the hospital that your child is unable to attend the study. The sleep study needs to be performed at a time when your child is well as illness (especially upper respiratory tract infections) can significantly affect the results and does not give an accurate representation of your child’s normal sleeping and breathing pattern.

Please ensure you check your child for head lice and nits prior to sleep study to ensure that appropriate treatment is initiated prior to the study.

One parent or guardian is required to stay overnight with your child (ONE adult per child only). On the night of the study you and your child are allocated a bedroom, which you will share together. There are separate beds for you each. Siblings are not able to stay and if possible, the parent staying should not have a history of snoring.

The sleep technician will explain the procedure and will set up the equipment to monitor your child’s sleep. A number of sensors and electrodes are attached to your child before they go to sleep. Your child can sit in a chair or on your lap. This can take up to one hour so your child needs to sit still and be occupied during this time. These sensors are safe and will not hurt your child in anyway. As tapes are used to apply sensors, it is important that your child’s skin be free of moisturizers or creams that may prevent the tape from adhering. If your child has any sensitive skin or skin allergies please ensure to inform the staff prior and technician on the night.

The technician will view the sleep study on a video monitor, which will also be digitally recorded and archived as part of their patient record. Recording will cease when the study has ended. An alarm button is present in the room if you or your child requires urgent assistance. The technician may need to enter the room during the night to re-attach electrodes. Parents are required to care for their child, as they would normally do at home.


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