Original Research

Sleep promotion for hospitalised children: Developing an evidence-based guideline for nurses

Elijeshca C. Crous, Natasha North
Curationis | Vol 44, No 1 | a2219 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v44i1.2219 | © 2021 Elijeshca C. Crous, Natasha North | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 December 2020 | Published: 06 October 2021

About the author(s)

Elijeshca C. Crous, The Harry Crossley Children’s Nursing Development Unit, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Natasha North, The Harry Crossley Children’s Nursing Development Unit, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Adequate sleep in hospitalised children is important for a variety of physiological and psychological processes associated with growth, development, and recovery from illness and injury. Hospitalisation often prioritises clinical care activities at the expense of age-appropriate sleep. Nurses and the wider healthcare team contribute to this paradox. However, through conscious practice and partnering with mothers, nurses are able to enact change and promote sleep.

Objectives: To adopt, adapt or contextualise existing guidelines to develop an evidence-based practice guideline to promote sleep-friendly ward environments and routines facilitated by nurses, and in partnership with mothers.

Method: A six-step methodology for guideline adaptation was followed, as recommended by the South African Guidelines Excellence project: (1) existing guidelines and protocols were identified and (2) appraised using the AGREE II instrument; (3) an evidence base was developed; (4) recommendations were modified, (5) assigned levels of evidence and grades of recommendation; and (6) end user guidance was developed. Expert consultation was sought throughout.

Results: Existing relevant guidance comprised 61 adult-centric recommendations. Modification of the evidence base led to six composited recommendations that facilitate sleep in hospitalised children: (1) prioritising patient safety; (2) collaborating with the mother or caregiver to promote sleep; (3) coordinating ward routine and (4) environment to improve sleep; (5) work with clinical and non-clinical staff; and (6) performing basic sleep assessments. Practice recommendations were aligned to the South African regulatory framework for nursing.

Conclusion: Hospitalisation is a time of physiological and psychological dysregulation for children, which is amplified by poor sleep in a hospital. Nurses have the opportunity to promote sleep during hospitalisation by implementing this African-centric guideline in partnership with mothers.


Keywords

sleep; hospital; children; paediatric; nursing; guideline

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