Reducing Nighttime Interruptions and Improving Sleep for Hospitalized Patients by Restructuring Nighttime Clinical Workflow

Link to article at PubMed

J Gen Intern Med. 2023 Jan 25. doi: 10.1007/s11606-022-08005-2. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Nighttime sleep disruptions negatively impact the experience of hospitalized patients.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the impact of adopting a sleep-promoting nighttime clinical workflow for hospitalized patients on nocturnal disruptions and sleep.

DESIGN: Survey-based pre- and post-intervention cross-sectional study using convenience samples.

PARTICIPANTS: Hospitalized veterans on a 23-bed general medical ward at a tertiary Veterans Administration Hospital.

INTERVENTIONS: Baseline sleep surveys (N=149) identified two major sources of interruptions: blood pressure checks at 4 am for telemetry patients and subcutaneous (SQ) heparin injections between 4:30 and 6 am for venous thromboembolism prophylaxis. Clinical workflow was restructured to eliminate these disruptions: moving 4 am blood pressure checks to 6 am and providing daily SQ enoxaparin at 9 am as an alternative to Q 8-h SQ heparin, which had prompted an injection between 4:30 and 6 am. The impact of these changes was assessed in a second round of surveys (N=99).

MAIN MEASURES: Frequency and sources for nighttime sleep disruptions; percentage of patients reporting longer time to fall asleep, more interruptions, and worse sleep quality (vs. home) before and after restructuring nighttime clinical workflow.

KEY RESULTS: After restructuring nighttime clinical workflow, medication administration as a source of nighttime disruption decreased from 40% (59/149) to 4% (4/99) (p<0.001). Blood pressure checks as a source of disruption decreased from 56% (84/149) to 42% (42/99) (p=0.033). Fewer patients reported taking longer to fall asleep in the hospital vs. home (39% pre-intervention vs. 25% post-intervention, p=0.021). Similarly, fewer patients experienced waking up more frequently in the hospital vs. home (46% pre-intervention vs. 32% post-intervention, p=0.036). Fewer patients reported sleeping worse in the hospital (44% pre-intervention vs. 39% post-intervention), though this trend was not statistically significant (p=0.54).

CONCLUSIONS: Nighttime disruptions in hospitalized patients frequently interfere with sleep. Restructuring of the clinical workflow significantly reduced disruptions and improved sleep.

PMID:36697927 | DOI:10.1007/s11606-022-08005-2

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