A New Awakening

This story about adjusting overnight practices to allow residents to sleep without being woken up throughout the night was originally published in our October Newsletter.

Mr. W. spent most of his days mostly asleep. He was sluggish, had a hard time getting up and ready for the day and required assistance eating. Then the folks of the Miller’s Crossing neighborhood at Rosedale Green in Covington, KY decided to individualize sleep plans for their residents, finding ways to let them sleep through the night with out being awakened and to sleep until they woke naturally in the morning. Mr. W. was the first resident the staff worked with and the change in him was nearly miraculous.

Staff talked with Mr. W.’s wife to make changes to his nightly routine that originally included waking him every two hours to check and change him and waking him at midnight to take medicine crushed in ice cream. His wife offered alternative medication administration techniques that had worked well for them when he was at home and agreed to have him quietly looked in on at night, but not awakened except to take his medicine.

After the first night of Mr. W. not being awakened, staff couldn’t believe the difference. When they came into his room at 8:30 a.m. he was wide awake, said good morning and was ready to get out of bed. This was a first for him and then several more first followed. He had no trouble taking his morning meds, a task with which he and staff had had much difficulty. He ate breakfast with no assistance. By day two, his usually garbled speech was much more clear and he was able to call his wife on the phone. She couldn’t believe the difference and told staff, “This is my Mr. W. back!” On the third day, staff were busy finding things for Mr. W. to do because he was bored. Having spent most of his days sleeping, he now needed ways to engage and was doing so like he had not since he moved in—all because he was getting a good night’s rest.

Staff have since worked with the other residents and their family members, a few at a time, to see how they might get better rest and sleep until they wanted to get up. Not all the changes have been as dramatic as Mr. W’s, and there have been some setbacks, but overall, they are seeing much happier and engaged residents sleeping how and when it suits them.

Pat Maben, RN, MN, comments on the effectiveness and particulars of these practices here.

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