Previous research has shown that sleep disturbance is common among long-stay, nonrehabilitative nursing home residents and the nursing home environment contributes to poor sleep. Moreover, nursing home residents with more impaired sleep have worse functional status. While VA and non-VA nursing homes are increasingly being used to provide rehabilitation for older veterans recovering from recent illness or injury, little research has addressed how sleep disturbance among this group of nursing home residents may influence successful rehabilitation and other important clinical outcomes.
The primary purpose of this project is to identify factors that affect sleep in rehabilitative nursing home residents, and to determine whether sleep impairment is associated with the process of their rehabilitation and important clinical outcomes.
This is a prospective, cohort study of older people admitted for post-acute rehabilitation to VA and community sites. Residents are enrolled when admitted to the facility for rehabilitation, and followed prospectively for 9 months. Data collected at baseline includes medical data and demographics, comorbidity, functional status, physical function and subjective (i.e., questionnaire) and objective (i.e., wrist actigraphy) measures of sleep. Baseline ambulatory sleep monitoring is performed, and participants are monitored for falls during their stay. Functional status and physical function measure are repeated at discharge. In addition, follow up assessments are performed at two months, six months and nine months from admission to the post-acute rehabiliation site. These follow up assessments include questionnaire and wrist actigraphy sleep measures, functional status, physical function, living location, survival status and health care utilization (i.e., emergency room visits and hospitalizations).
A total of 245 participants have been enrolled into the study from one community (n=158) and 2 VA post-acute rehabiliation units (n=87). The mean age for these participants is 81 years, 62% are male, and 80% non-Hispanic white. Average length of stay in the post-acute rehabilitation setting was 21 days, and the majority (84%) of participants were discharged to community settings. Based on wrist actigraphy (and behavioral observation data), participants slept 16.4% of daytime hours (8am to 8pm) and had a nightime percent sleep (time asleep over time monitored between 10pm and 6am) of only 52.2%. More daytime sleeping was associated with attenuated functional recovery between admission and discharge (measured by improvement in the motor component of the Functional Independence Measure (FIM); r= - .252, p<.001), and with less total functional improvement from admission to the 2-month follow-up visit (r= -.261, p=.001). When MMSE score was included in statistical models, these relationships remained statistically significant.
Results of this study may lead to a randomized controlled trial to test interventions to improve aspects of quality of care related to environmental, staff and patient factors that impact sleep.
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Aging, Older Veterans' Health and Care, Health Systems
Long-term care, Patient outcomes, Sleep disorders