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More Daytime Sleeping Predicts Less Functional Recovery among Elderly Undergoing Inpatient Post-Acute Rehabilitation


The elderly are at high risk for functional decline during acute hospitalization, which can lead to increased care-giving needs at home, nursing home placement, or death. There has been some research addressing the importance of sleep in rehabilitation settings, but disturbance in sleep/wake patterns has not yet been explored as a potential factor impacting functional outcomes among the elderly. This study sought to describe the sleep patterns among older people in the post-acute rehabilitation setting – and to examine them as a potential predictor of functional recovery. Investigators analyzed data from 245 patients ages 65 and older who received care at either a for-profit community nursing home or a VAMC inpatient rehabilitation unit. Reasons for admission to rehabilitation were varied; for example, orthopedic problems (42.1%), cardiac problems (13.2%) and stroke (10.6%).

Findings show that more daytime sleep during the rehabilitation stay was associated with less functional recovery from admission to discharge, even after adjusting for other significant predictors (e.g., mental status, reason for admission, and hours of rehabilitation therapy). Further, more daytime sleep remained a predictor of less functional recovery at 3-month follow-up.

PubMed Logo Alessi C, Martin J, Webber A, Alam T, Littner M, Harker J, Josephson K. More daytime sleeping predicts less functional recovery among older people undergoing inpatient post-acute rehabilitation. Sleep September 2008;31(9):1291-1300.

This study was partially supported by HSR&D and the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Drs. Alessi, Martin, Alam, Harker, and Ms. Josephson are part of GRECC, and Dr. Littner is part of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.

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What are HSR&D Publication Briefs?

HSR&D requires notification by HSR&D-funded investigators about all articles accepted for publication. These journal articles are reviewed by HSR&D and publication briefs or summaries are written for a select number of articles that are then forwarded to VHA Central Office leadership to keep them informed about important findings or information. Articles to be summarized are selected by HSR&D based on timeliness of the findings, interest of leadership, or potential impact on the organization. Publication briefs are written for only a small number of HSR&D published articles. Visit the HSR&D citations database for a complete listing of HSR&D articles and presentations.