Advocating for a good night’s sleep
Posted By Maryann On APRIL 24,2018
Sleep has been under-rated. There is no doubt that miracles occur daily in hospitals. But in the race to vanquish disease, simple things like sleep can get short shrift.
Choosing Wisely, a white paper by the American Academy of Nursing, has listed several common hospital practices that unintentionally get in the way of a solid recovery. Spending too much time in bed—not walking early and often—is one concern. Another problem is interrupted sleep.
Promote a full night's sleep
Sleep is one of the body's most healing activities. It has a cyclic pattern that needs to be respected. When your relative is hospitalized, do what you can to advocate for:
Medicines being given during waking hours. (If needed three times a day, suggest 10:00 p.m., 6:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.)
Lights out, monitors silent, and doors closed to your relative's room at night.
No middle of the night blood draws. Ask that these occur when your loved one is awake in the morning.
Vitals checked just before bed and then in the morning. Have blood pressure, pulse, temperature, pain, and respirations been fairly steady? If so, do they really need to be taken at 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m.?
Effective and long-lasting pain management applied in the evening. This way pain will not cause your loved one to wake up in the night.
Of course there are reasons a patient may need midnight attention. Maybe the situation is unstable. The illness not yet under control. Perhaps a test is needed to determine the goals of care. Or to make immediate treatment decisions. But if things are generally stable, it's perfectly appropriate to ask, "What are the real risks of no interruptions between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.? Can it wait?" Healing may be a higher priority.
Is advocacy not your thing?
At Caring Choices, we know how hard it can be to navigate the medical system. Hospital staff mean well, but they are short on time and have many patients to care for. As the northern New Jersey experts in family caregiving, we can advocate for your loved one and help be sure that he or she is supported for genuine healing. Give us a call at 973-627-4087. You don't have to do this alone!