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How Do Clinicians Assess, Communicate About, and Manage Patient Sleep in the Hospital?

Ye, Lichuan PhD, RN; Keane, Kathleen MS, BSN, CNL, CCRN; Johnson, Stacy Hutton MS/MBA, RN, NE-BC; Dykes, Patricia C. DNSc, RN

Journal of Nursing Administration: June 2013 - Volume 43 - Issue 6 - p 342–347
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e3182942c8a

OBJECTIVE The objective of this study was to characterize how clinicians assess, communicate about, and manage patient sleep, with the focus on identifying existing barriers and facilitators to sleep promotion in clinical practice.

BACKGROUND Sleep is a critical need for improving for hospitalized patients.

METHODS Content analysis was used to interpret descriptive data from 4 group interviews with a total of 62 clinicians.

RESULTS Clinicians reported they did not formally assess for patient sleep, which led to largely unmanaged sleep disruption during hospitalization. Major barriers to effective sleep management were limited understanding of the importance of sleep, lack of a standardized tool for assessment, and inadequate communication. Facilitators included collaborative communication with patients and the healthcare team and customized patient-centered interventions.

CONCLUSIONS It is critical to inform clinicians on the importance of sleep, to standardize sleep assessment, and to facilitate collaboration among caregivers to promote sleep for hospitalized patients.

Author Affiliations: Assistant Professor (Dr Ye), Doctoral Students (Ms Keane and Ms Hutton Johnson), William F. Connell School of Nursing, Boston College, Chestnut Hill; and Senior Nurse Scientist and Program Director (Dr Dykes), Nursing Research, Center for Nursing Excellence, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

This work is supported by the Haley Research Fund from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Aging Research Incentive Grant from Boston College.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Ye, William F. Connell School of Nursing, Cushing Hall 423, Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Ave, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 (

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