Sick and tired: How can hospitals help patients get the sleep they need?

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  1. Trevor Hancock

    Thank you for this article, I am glad to see the issue being addressed. When I do ‘Healthy Hospital’ workshops, I always start with 4 questions, the first of which is ‘can I get a good night’s sleep in your hospital?’. (The other 3 are ‘Do you have the best food in the community?; Are you the healthiest workplace in the community? and Are you tithe most environmentally friendly institution in your community?’.

    The answer to all 4 is almost always ‘no’, accompanied by somewhat embarrassed laughter. So I ask ‘what is wrong with this picture, why is this not true in what is supposed to be the beacon/temple of health in the community – and what needs to change?’

    People might like to look at the Planetree approach in the USA as a good model of how to create a healthier hospital (for patients, staff and visitors).

    Dr. Trevor Hancock, Professor and Senior Scholar, School of Public Health and Social Policy, University of Victoria

  2. Nancy Amato

    Thank you for this excellent article which is right on target in many areas. My son has sickle cell anemia SD; he is frequently hospitalized for pain crisis & acute chest. I’ve lost count of the many times he has been an inpatient, both in the country of Panama, as well as here in Charleston, SC. One of our chief concerns during his hospitalizations is sleep deprivation. Thankfully, here at MUSC, they have applied for a grant to get white noise machines; this will help in the future. In the interim, as a stop gap, we always request a fan,which serves as ‘white noise.’ Additionally, he has just begun wearing a sleep mask. This has made a remarkable difference in his remaining asleep even when staff are in & out during the night. As with many situations in need of improvement, change is often slow to come. As caregivers, parents & patients, it is vital that we speak up, so that hospitals are more aware of the problem & perhaps will take steps to remedy the situation. Thank you.

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