Delirium. We have all had residents in our centers who experienced delirium, many times resulting in a negative outcome. We often track the onset of delirium to an emergency room transfer, hospitalization, infection, etc. but have we looked at the possibility that interrupted sleep increases the risk of delirium? In a limited study published in Medscape, researchers found that with fewer nighttime checks there was no significant change in patient safety.
Experts in fall prevention programs will laugh and say, “we know better”! Yep, previous studies have shown that interrupted sleep increases the risk of falls in the elderly. Many of us have used this information to assist in developing an improved fall prevention program in our centers. So, it is not surprising that researchers would try to link interrupted sleep to the risk of delirium as well!
The good news is that we don’t need a research team to confirm that residents need their sleep and that negative outcomes like falls, delirium, etc. are real! Have you had this discussion with your team? Are you working with your night shift caregivers on avoiding unnecessary sleep interruptions? Has the QAPI committee reviewed the fall and incident log, are incidents creeping up? Time for a PIP? Maybe, just maybe, we could enjoy better outcomes! Stay well, stay informed and stay masked!