Background Sleeping well in healthcare settings is notoriously difficult. Hospices can be noisy, uncomfortable and unfamiliar and patients themselves are often going through incredibly difficult periods in their lives. Consequently for hospice patients, good quality sleep is as important as it is difficult to obtain.
The estimated prevalence of insomnia in the palliative care population as a whole is up to 60%. We are well versed in the range of physical and psychological benefits that are endowed on patients by good quality sleep. What are less clear, especially within palliative care, are the specific causes of poor sleep and, crucially, the best ways to tackle them.
Aims The aim of this project is to understand the scale and specific causes of poor sleep within the hospice in order to design and implement predominantly non-pharmacological interventions to improve sleep quality for our current and future patients.
Methods We developed a 24 question survey to obtain baseline data on the quality of patients’ sleep prior to and during their hospice admission, the specific causes of poor sleep and suggested ways to improve it. We used these results to design a ‘sleep pack’ of non-pharmacological tools that our night staff can use with patients to promote better quality sleep. We plan to re-survey patients following the introduction of the ‘sleep packs’ to assess whether they have any impact on patients’ quality of sleep.
Results Results so far confirm sleep quality is generally poor within our palliative population but that this improves slightly by virtue of simply being within the hospice. The upcoming results should indicate if our sleep packs are useful (or not) in improving the quality of our patients’ sleep.
Conclusions Ongoing, but results should help us conclude the prevalence and causes of insomnia at our hospice and if non-pharmacological ‘sleep kits’ are helpful and should be used in the future.
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