Caregiver and Staff Perceptions of Disruptions to Pediatric Inpatient Sleep

J Clin Sleep Med. 2018 Nov 15;14(11):1895-1902. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.7488.


Study objectives: Sleep is critical to a child's health and well-being, but children are likely to sleep less and be awakened more often during the night in the hospital than at home. To date no studies have compared caregiver, nurse, and physician perspectives of nighttime sleep disruptions in the pediatric general medicine setting. Our aim was to assess caregiver, nurse, and physician perspectives on the most frequent in-hospital disruptors of sleep for pediatric patients. Additionally, we evaluated the degree of agreement of those opinions between the caregivers and medical team.

Methods: Caregivers, nurses, and physicians were surveyed using the Potential Hospital Sleep Disruption and Noises Questionnaire (PHSDNQ) regarding their opinions on factors that disrupt sleep. Caregiver responses were collected via a convenience sample of patients hospitalized from February to August 2017 and hospital staff was surveyed once regarding overall perception. The perceived percentage of patients disrupted by each factor was calculated and compared among groups using chi-square tests. Using caregiver rank order based on mean response as the reference gold standard, the absolute differences of nurse and physician rank orders were summed and analyzed using a two-sample test of proportion. In addition, staff was asked knowledge and empowerment questions about how to maximize patient sleep in the hospital and responses were compared using chi-square tests.

Results: A total of 162 caregivers, 77 nurses (84% response rate), and 81 physicians (90% response rate) completed surveys. Checking vital signs (50%), nurse/physician interruption (49%), and continuous pulse oximetry (38%) were the three most prevalent disruptors of pediatric inpatient sleep as reported by caregivers. Significant differences were observed between caregiver, nurse, and physician responses for pain, anxiety, alarms, noise, and tests (P ≤ .001 for all). Both nurse and physician rank orders were discordant when compared to caregivers; there was no significant difference between the two staff groups. When compared to physicians, nurses reported doing more to help children sleep in the hospital (33% versus 94%, P < .001).

Conclusions: Although caregivers report medical interventions such as checking vital signs, nurse/physician interruption, and continuous pulse oximetry as the most frequent disruptors of inpatient pediatric sleep, pediatric staff has poor insight into these disruptions.

Keywords: health care quality; pediatric hospital medicine; pediatrics; sleep and arousal; sleep deprivation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child, Hospitalized*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Alarms
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital*
  • Noise / adverse effects
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Sleep Deprivation / etiology*
  • Sleep Deprivation / prevention & control
  • Sleep Deprivation / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires