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Big winner in promoting natural sleep patterns

Published: 23 Sep 2014

Life Care has won national acclaim for an innovative project to support natural sleep patterns among residents in aged care.

The Bedtime to Breakfast initiative at Life Care’s Aldinga Beach Court is a winner in the health and personal care category of the Aged Care Quality Agency’s 2014 Better Practice Awards.

The awards, recognising excellence in aged care, were presented at the Aged Care Quality Agency’s annual conference in Sydney on 27 August.

Sue Mark, Residential Services Manager at Aldinga Beach Court, said the project was developed in response to a review of residents’ overnight call bell frequencies.

“The project explored current practices for evening and night staff to identify activities or environmental factors that were contributing to residents not achieving appropriate levels of natural sleep,” she explained.

“An action research methodology was used including surveying staff members on perceived causes of sleep disturbance and reasons for checking on residents overnight.”

“A detailed literature review was also undertaken before activities and guidelines were developed to support natural sleep patterns among residents.”

“The project involved staff members from across Life Care, including management, nursing, care and lifestyle staff. Importantly, we also engaged with residents and their families to individualise preferences relating to settling routines and sleep.”

“As a result, we were able to identify causes of sleep disturbance and potential solutions, including modifying social and recreational activities during the day to reduce daytime sleep.”

“Strategies were also introduced to minimise noise and disturbance from more wakeful residents at night.”

Resulting call bed audits have shown a decrease of almost 150 per cent.

“The project has also revealed that sleep is not all about night time,” Sue said. “It is about what happens 24 hours a day and we have developed information sheets to inform staff members across all shifts.”

The outcomes of the Bedtime to Breakfast project have been embraced into Life Care policy and procedure manuals with the strategies and recommendations to be rolled out across Life Care’s other residential living facilities and respite services.

“From a staff perspective, it is also about understanding our own sleep patterns to look after ourselves so that we can have even better interaction with residents,” Sue added.

Nick Ryan, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, said the awards recognised strong examples of innovation and excellence in the care of older Australians.