Development and evaluation of a sleep education program for older adults with dementia living in adult family homes

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2012 Jun;20(6):494-504. doi: 10.1097/JGP.0b013e318248ae79.


Objectives: To investigate the feasibility of implementing a Sleep Education Program (SEP) for improving sleep in adult family home (AFH) residents with dementia, and the relative efficacy of SEP compared with usual care control in a pilot randomized controlled trial.

Participants: Thirty-seven AFH staff-caregivers and 47 residents with comorbid dementia and sleep disturbances.

Intervention: SEP consisted of four training sessions with staff-caregivers to develop and implement individualized resident behavioral sleep plans.

Measurements: Treatment fidelity to the SEP was assessed following the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Behavior Change Consortium model utilizing trainer observations and staff-caregiver reports. Resident sleep was assessed by wrist actigraphy at baseline, 1-month posttreatment, and 6-month follow-up. Caregiver reports of resident daytime sleepiness, depression, and disruptive behaviors were also collected.

Results: Each key area of treatment fidelity (SEP delivery, receipt, enactment) was identified, measured, and yielded significant outcomes. Staff-caregivers learned how to identify sleep scheduling, daily activity, and environmental factors that could contribute to nocturnal disturbances and developed and implemented strategies for modifying these factors. SEP decreased the frequency and disturbance level of target resident nocturnal behaviors and improved actigraphically measured sleep percent and total sleep time over the 6-month follow-up period compared with the control condition.

Conclusion: Results suggest behavioral interventions to improve sleep are feasible to implement in adult family homes and merit further investigation as a promising intervention for use with AFH residents with dementia.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caregivers / education*
  • Dementia / complications*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Group Homes*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome