Hospitals ditch midnight checks to give sleep-deprived patients more rest

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Hospitals across the country have changed their routine workflows so patients can get a better night sleep during their overnight stays, according to USA Today.

For example, Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA recently altered its intensive care unit policies to promote improved sleep, turning down hall lights at 10 every night. Staff also combine their visits for ICU patients to take care of every task at once rather than disrupting sleep throughout the night. Other hospitals have also adopted such approaches as “quiet hours” in the afternoon, rescheduling floor-washing or developing checklists for tasks to be finished by 11 p.m., FierceHealthcare previously reported.

Hospitals have long examined improved lighting as a way to increase patient satisfaction, FierceHealthcare previously reported, and sleep-friendly policies can be particularly beneficial to pediatric patients, according to the article. Children who are well-rested are able to give therapy their all, whereas parents are better equipped to help providers handle their children’s needs when they get enough sleep.

Improved sleep also leads to better patient outcomes, according to the article. However, some hospitals are hesistant to change all its night-time routines for fear of inadvertently neglecting other patients, according to Margaret Pisani, M.D., a pulmonary critical care doctor at Yale University School of Medicine. There’s also a danger of overcorrecting by excessively prescribing sleep medication, much like an increased focus on pain management led to a huge spike in prescription of pain medication, Dana Edelson, an assistant professor of medicine at University of Chicago Medicine, told USA Today.

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