A good night's rest directly affects health, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In fact, there are studies confirming that among the factors that disrupt the sleep of hospital inpatients are nighttime interruptions due to patient care requirements, noise from medical devices, room temperature, excessive lighting, noise from other patients, or external causes related to hospital staff.
With the aim of improving these aspects that hinder the recovery of hospitalised individuals, the HUB’s Nursing Management have worked with a patient experience perspective.
"Can we improve our patients’ rest?"
In addition to working with focus groups, Rosa Maria Sánchez Cabrera, Chief Nurse of the Nephrological Process, Short Stay, and Patient Preparation Unit, as the principal investigator, along with the Nursing Management and the nursing team from the selected units, conducted an exhaustive study entitled "Sleep Quality of Inpatients in a Tertiary-Level Hospital" between May and July 2019. The study aimed to assess the sleep quality of admitted patients, utilizing a sample of 118 surveys and a 48-hour decibel recording in various units and throughout all shifts.
Based on the study results and suggestions from patients participating in the focus group, the hospital implemented the first interventions. These included changes in cleaning schedules, adjustments to the timing of certain pharmacological treatments to avoid nighttime interruptions, replacement of wheels on carts and devices, and the installation of light regulators, among others.
Furthermore, HUB has joined the SueñOn project of the Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII), which aims to ensure hospitalised patients enjoy restorative sleep based on scientific evidence and literature on care practices. As of 11 p.m., Bellvitge Hospital is already sleeping.
In parallel to the information sessions for professionals, signage has been reinforced in all rooms of the hospital, providing instructions for patients, visitors, and healthcare staff, as well as in nursing work areas. These signs remind admitted individuals that from 11 p.m. onwards, they should speak softly, silence their mobile devices (phones and tablets), turn off lights and TVs, and lower the blinds. One companion is allowed in the room until 9 p.m. Additionally, patients who are more sensitive to light and require a dark sleeping environment will be provided with an eye mask to facilitate their sleep.
Regarding healthcare professionals, starting from 8 p.m., it will be necessary to dim the lights at the nursing station and lower the volume of patient call bells. Between 10 and 11 p.m., rounds will be conducted in the rooms to assess the patients and their pain levels, verify compliance with nighttime instructions, keep the lights off, and close the door, as long as there are no contraindications.
The reduced lighting at the unit's control station promotes a lower volume of conversation and encourages a commitment to patients' rest during the work shift. In line with this, when professionals need to enter a room at night, they will use a flashlight provided to them during the information sessions.
Upcoming sessions will be held for the professionals working exclusively on weekend night shifts. As part of the "The Hospital is already sleeping" project, the Nursing Management will monitor the implemented interventions, ensure the initiative is consolidated, and explore additional measures, if necessary.