Sleep tight: Less overnight vital monitoring improves perception of sleep quality at hospital

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Being woken in the middle of the night is an unpleasant experience for anyone, but especially patients in the hospital undergoing their nightly vital sign check. Researchers from Ohio State University conducted a study, published in Patient Experience Journal, on reported quality of sleep and patient’s satisfaction during as hospital stay where overnight vital signs were collected compared to when vitals were not taken.

Monitoring a patient’s vital signs during the night ensures the patient is on a stable path to recovery, but still requires for caregivers to interrupt patients sleep. This study analyzed the difference in reported sleep and satisfactions in patients that were woken every four hours for vital sign measurements and patients who didn't have their vital signs checked at night.

The study enrolled low-risk observational stay patients with a planned cardiac procedure and sorted 39 into a conventional group, where overnight vital signs were taken every four hours, and 41 into the intervention group, where vital signs were not taken. Participants were given a questionnaire to report their reported quality of sleep and satisfaction with their stay in the hospital.

Results showed more patients in the standard group reported good or excellent sleep at home while more intervention group patients rated good or excellent sleep in the hospital. Patients in the intervention group reported slightly better sleep than those in the standard group. Overall, there was no difference in satisfaction with hospital stay.

“With this proof of concept now safely implemented, it is our intention to implement further studies to broaden our inclusion criteria and population to encourage a restful and healing environment through the entire healthcare stay,” concluded first author Kevin Stiver, Ohio State University Medical Center.