Repeated sleep-quality assessment and use of sleep-promoting interventions in ICU

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Menear, Ashika
Elliott, Rosalind
Aitken, Leanne M
Lal, Sara
McKinley, Sharon
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To describe sleep quality using repeated subjective assessment and the ongoing use of sleep‐promoting interventions in intensive care. It is well known that the critically ill experience sleep disruption while receiving treatment in the intensive care unit. Both the measurement and promotion of sleep is challenging in the complex environment of intensive care unit. Repeated subjective assessment of patients' sleep in the intensive care unit and use of sleep‐promoting interventions has not been widely reported. An observational study was conducted in a 58‐bed adult intensive care unit. Sleep quality was assessed using the Richards‐Campbell Sleep Questionnaire (RCSQ) each morning. intensive care unit audit sleep‐promoting intervention data were compared to data obtained prior to the implementation of a sleep guideline. Patients answered open‐ended questions about the facilitators and deterrents of their sleep in intensive care unit. The sample (n = 50) was predominately male (76%) with a mean age: 62.6±16.9 years. Sleep quality was assessed on 2 days or more for 21 patients. The majority of patients (98%) received sleep‐promoting interventions. Sleep quality had not improved significantly since the guideline was first implemented. The mean Richards‐Campbell Sleep Questionnaire score was 47.9±24.1 mm. The main sleep deterrents were discomfort and noise. Frequently cited facilitators were nothing (i.e. nothing helped) and analgesia. The Richards‐Campbell Sleep Questionnaire was used on repeated occasions, and sleep‐promoting interventions were used extensively. There was no evidence of improvement in sleep quality since the implementation of a sleep guideline. The use of the Richards‐Campbell Sleep Questionnaire for the subjective self‐assessment of sleep quality in intensive care unit patients and the implementation of simple‐promoting interventions by intensive care unit clinicians is both feasible and may be the most practical way to assess sleep in the intensive care unit context.

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Nursing in Critical Care

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© 2017 British Association of Critical Care Nurses. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Repeated sleep-quality assessment and use of sleep-promoting interventions in ICU, Nursing in Critical Care, Volume 22, Issue 6, Pages 348-354, 2017, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving (

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