Residents’ Top 5 Complaints About Nursing Homes: #4

Complaint #4: Nighttime disturbances

The main culprits:
  • TVs blaring into the wee hours
  • Agitated neighbors
  • Loud conversations between workers
Steps toward improved sleep hygiene:
  • Implement a TV curfew and require night owl viewers to use headsets past the curfew
  • Encourage night shift workers to report resident sleeplessness so sleep/wake cycle disturbances can be reversed and medications adjusted if necessary.
  • As part of inservice training, address ways in which night staff can communicate with each other to avoid disturbing sleeping residents.
Good sleep hygiene on an individual basis can reduce irritability, improve memory, and promote healing. Good sleep hygiene on a unit-wide basis is good customer service that can benefit the physical and mental health of residents and reduce conflict between residents (it’s hard to be friendly toward someone who’s kept you up all night).

7 thoughts on “Residents’ Top 5 Complaints About Nursing Homes: #4”

  1. Dr. El,
    I'm not sure why more staff are not aware of how sound carries at night or how disturbing hearing people talk while you are trying to sleep, but have often thought headsets should be mandatory for T.V. viewers.

    For situations where noise is unavoidable or for those with other sleep disturbances, I would like to suggest headsets with a relaxation CD. There are some excellent ones on the market and they can do wonders for a good night's sleep.

  2. This is the thing that is complained about most by our residents. I know that working third shift is rough and sometimes it's all you can do to stay awake. Being rowdy in the halls should not be one of our coping mechanisms. Maybe we need to find out why the aides are being noisy in the first place and address it from that angle instead of just telling them to be quiet.

  3. Sue, good idea about the relaxation CDs. Ear plugs and eye shades can also reduce disturbances at night and give individual residents a measure of control over the situation.

    Exactly, K. Tree, it's a systems problem, and one better resolved by brainstorming solutions with the workers (and possibly residents) involved than by telling people to be quiet without investigating why they aren't.

  4. I think we should require every nurse and aide (and anyone else) who works overnight shifts in a nursing home spend a night or two at the facility. In a room near the nurses station…maybe having to actually experience the noise might give these nurses and aides good reason to hush it up when they work.

  5. Sue, unit-wide sleep hygiene would be a worthwhile inservice topic. I think I'll add a category for Inservice Coordinators. Thanks for giving me the idea.


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