Optimising Quality of Sleep Among Older People in the Community and Care Homes: An integrated approach

Lead Research Organisation: University of Surrey
Department Name: Sociology


Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.


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VENN S (2010) Day-time sleep and active ageing in later life in Ageing and Society

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Gregory P (2012) Improving sleep management in people with Parkinson's. in British journal of community nursing

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Eyers I (2013) Safe and sound? Night-time checking in care homes. in British journal of nursing (Mark Allen Publishing)

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Eyers I (2012) Striking the balance: night care versus the facilitation of good sleep. in British journal of nursing (Mark Allen Publishing)

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Theresa Ellmers (Author) (2010) Promoting good sleep in care homes in Caring times

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Debra Skene (Author) (2008) Blue light and sleep : what research is revealing about sleep disorders in the elderly in Cataract & refractive surgery today

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Morgan K (2011) Insomnia: evidence-based approaches to assessment and management. in Clinical medicine (London, England)

Description The Aims of SomnIA Research were:

• To understand the meanings and determinants of poor quality sleep among older people in the community and in care homes - by assessing social, psychological and environmental factors, medication use and health status, and identifying potential solutions.

• To develop a cost-effective approach to non-pharmacological self-management of insomnia among older people with chronic disease.

• To develop and evaluate 'blue-enriched' light in improving sleep of older people in the community and in care homes.

• To develop sensor-based products for frail older people at home and in care homes.

Some of the key SomnIA project findings were:

• Good sleep is a pre-requisite for older people's well-being and ability to engage fully in daytime activities, whether living in their own homes or in a care home.

• Ageing per se is not necessarily related to poorer sleep. Sleep disturbance is influenced by a number of factors operating over the life course, as well as ill health, pain and worries.

• Older men and women would rather not go to their doctor for help with poor sleep because of a belief that they will be prescribed sleeping medication, which usually they would rather not take.

• The severity of insomnia symptoms associated with chronic disease can be reduced by self-help strategies based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) delivered in booklet form.

• Daily light exposure has some beneficial effects among older people with self-reported sleep problems living in the community.

• SomnIA created a module entitled 'Sleep Problems in Later Life' on the 'Healthtalkonline' website (www.healthtalkonline.org), providing information for older people, their carers, and health professionals about what it means to experience sleep problems in later life.

• Care home routines, staffing levels and care practices influence both the sleep and night-time experience of care home residents. In addition, individual factors influence sleep quality such as medication use, level of dependency, ill-health and incontinence.

• Residential care homes have low levels of artificial lighting. Light supplementation in communal areas can increase the time that care home residents spend under brighter light conditions without producing adverse effects.

• Sensitively designed new technology has much potential to support sleep. Four prototypes developed and tested were pillows for playing music, automatic bedroom lighting, easy access to items needed during the night, and a portable hearing aid for care staff.
Exploitation Route The findings of the SomnIA project are being used in five main non-academic contexts:

1. Raising awareness among the public about the importance of sleep for the health and wellbeing of older people; and providing knowledge to the public and to health professionals about the range of strategies that can be adopted to optimise sleep in later life.

2. Improving the treatment and management of sleep problems for people with chronic illnesses, including Parkinson's Disease. This aspect of the project led to the development of insomnia self-management training (CBT-I) courses for Cognitive Behavioural Therapists and NHS staff. A series of self-management booklets for poor sleep wee developed that can be used by patients with various chronic conditions including Parkinson's Disease. In addition, a 2 day training course for NHS staff, including Psychological Practitioners, called 'Help Yourself to Sleep', to teach self-management for insomnia (CBT-I) has been developed and delivered to a wide range of NHS Trusts.

3. In the care home sector (care home managers and staff) by raising awareness of the importance for residents of obtaining good night-time sleep and how care home practices influence quality of resident's sleep. This has led to changes in night-time practices to reduce disruptions by staff routinely checking on residents, and the consideration of changing staff shift patterns to reduce the very long durations that many care home residents spend in bed at night. These changes in care home practices can optimize the night-time sleep of care home residents.

4. Care home sector. There is increasing recognition within the care home sector that current levels of (artificial) lighting in care homes are below the recommended level, and the importance of increasing levels of illumination in care homes, which will aid residents' sleep and wellbeing.

5. The development of new products that can facilitate older people's sleep, particularly in care homes. Four new products have been developed and evaluated; all have been enthusiastically received by the care home industry and care home residents. Care home residents and staff, together with SME's in the assistive technology field have been influenced by the new products developed to support sleep of older people in care homes. The users of these new products (care home residents and care home staff) were closely involved in all stages of the development and evaluation of these new engineering products.
In relation to the four novel engineering products developed (in WP7), it is expected that the production development of the four products will lead to all of them being made available commercially. This in itself will encourage other groups to explore this field further and hopefully stimulate commercial interest in pursuing new products in this area of assistive technology.
Sectors Healthcare