Patient-Centered Care: Facilitated Sleep in Critical Care

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Katelyn N. Brenton
Husson University, Bangor, ME

Learning Objective 1: Participants will learn about the effects that lack of sleep has on our patients and how it impacts their health.

Learning Objective 2: Participants will learn various interventions that can be implemented in order to maintain adequate levels of sleep for patients in critical care.

Purpose: With sleep deprivation, there is a significant drop in immune and cognitive functioning. Sleep deprivation negatively interferes with healing processes. This occurs when interruptions prevent patients from obtaining an entire 90 minute sleep cycle or a full sequence of sleep stages. The purpose of this study is to discover why patients are not sleeping well in hospital settings and the various methods nurses can implement in order to allow patients more time to sleep and heal. Nurses are responsible for providing patients adequate time to sleep, but also completing all the necessary tasks of patient care, which is difficult to balance during a busy shift.

Methods: Databases CINAHL, Nursing & Allied Health Collection, and Cochrane were searched using key words “sleep deprivation”, “intensive care unit”, and “nurse interventions”. Six articles were identified. The population of study was patients in the intensive care unit. Major nurse interventions implemented include noise and light reduction, improving patient comfort and clustering patient care activities. Patients receiving these interventions were compared to those who were not. The time frame was during the length of hospital stay in the intensive care unit. 

Results: Study results showed that many patients experience a loss of sleep when hospitalized in critical care units. In order to completely measure sleep patterns of patients, expensive, cumbersome equipment and skilled technicians are required. This serves as a large barrier to study this issue. Many of the interventions that nurses are using have been proven effective.

Conclusion: Interventions should be clustered to help facilitate patients’ sleep. Prioritizing is within the realm of nursing practice. More education for nursing staff and implementation of policies is needed to ensure that patients are receiving adequate sleep during their hospital stay. If nurses continue without this education, hospital stays may increase in length and patients may experience negative outcomes.