Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem. The impact of TBI on the individual is multifaceted and includes neurocognitive, behavioral, and psychiatric disturbances as well as greater predisposition for dementia. A common but significant problem reported by patients after TBI is sleep disturbance. The purpose of this manuscript is twofold: (1) to describe our experience with implementation of the newly developed sleep hygiene guidelines; and (2) to report our preliminary results of implementation of the sleep hygiene guidelines on TBI patient outcomes.
A mixed methods approach was used to assess implementation of sleep hygiene guidelines and to gather preliminary data on outcomes.
Although not statistically significant, the average self-reported sleep duration of these TBI patients was slightly higher in 2010 than 2009, with a FIM score that was similar for both time points. In 2009, the mean change in functional independence measure (FIM) score (n = 34) was 1.44. In 2010, the mean change in FIM score (n = 33) was 1.42. In 2009, most patients (n = 13) admitted to the hospital continued to take medications and were discharged with a sleep aid. In 2010, most patients reported a change in their sleep medication prescriptions (on medications at admission and none at discharge) or had continued to take their prescribed sleep medications from admission to discharge (n = 12).
Sleep disorders have a major impact on health outcomes in patients with TBI. To optimize rehabilitation and ultimately improve functional outcomes of patients with TBI, implementation of evidence-based clinical guidelines for sleep is imperative. We report our initial experience with implementation of sleep guidelines.