G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Asleep or not asleep? Evaluation of the Quality of Patients’ Sleep in Critical Care Nursing

List of Authors: Ritmala-Castrén Marita
Publisher: Turun yliopisto
Place: Turku
Publication year: 2015
ISBN: 978-951-29-6147-4
eISBN: 978-951-29-6148-1


Sleep is important for the recovery of a critically ill patient, as lack of sleep is known to influence negatively a person’s cardiovascular system, mood, orientation, and metabolic and immune function and thus, it may prolong patients’ intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital stay. Intubated and mechanically ventilated patients suffer from fragmented and light sleep. However, it is not known well how non-intubated patients sleep. The evaluation of the patients’ sleep may be compromised by their fatigue and still position with no indication if they are asleep or not.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate ICU patients’ sleep evaluation methods, the quality of non-intubated patients’ sleep, and the sleep evaluations performed by ICU nurses. The aims were to develop recommendations of patients’ sleep evaluation for ICU nurses and to provide a description of the quality of non-intubated patients’ sleep. The literature review of ICU patients’ sleep evaluation methods was extended to the end of 2014. The evaluation of the quality of patients’ sleep was conducted with four data: A) the nurses’ narrative documentations of the quality of patients’ sleep (n=114), B) the nurses’ sleep evaluations (n=21) with a structured observation instrument C) the patients’ self-evaluations (n=114) with the Richards-Campbell Sleep Questionnaire, and D) polysomnographic evaluations of the quality of patients’ sleep (n=21). The correspondence of data A with data C (collected 4–8/2011), and data B with data D (collected 5–8/2009) were analysed. Content analysis was used for the nurses’ documentations and statistical analyses for all the other data.

The quality of non-intubated patients’ sleep varied between individuals. In many patients, sleep was light, awakenings were frequent, and the amount of sleep was insufficient as compared to sleep in healthy people. However, some patients were able to sleep well. The patients evaluated the quality of their sleep on average neither high nor low. Sleep depth was evaluated to be the worst and the speed of falling asleep the best aspect of sleep, on a scale 0 (poor sleep) to 100 (good sleep). Nursing care was mostly performed while the patients were awake, and thus the disturbing effect was low.

The instruments available for nurses to evaluate the quality of patients’ sleep were limited and measured mainly the quantity of sleep. Nurses’ structured observatory evaluations of the quality of patients’ sleep were correct for approximately two thirds of the cases, and only regarding total sleep time. Nurses’ narrative documentations of the patients’ sleep corresponded with patients’ self-evaluations in just over half of the cases. However, nurses documented several dimensions of sleep that are not included in the present sleep evaluation instruments. They could be classified according to the components of the nursing process: needs assessment, sleep assessment, intervention, and effect of intervention. Valid, more comprehensive sleep evaluation methods for nurses are needed to evaluate, document, improve and study patients’ quality of sleep. 

Last updated on 2019-21-08 at 21:29