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Factors Associated With Sleep Disturbance Among Older Adults in Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities


  • This article was supported by the Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence and John A Hartford Pre-doctoral Scholarship Fund.


Angela M. Allen, College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ 85004. Email:



The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of changing sleep patterns and common sleep disorders in older adults and to discuss treatment options of sleep disturbances within inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs).


Through extensive review of the existing literature, common sleep disorders among older adults and several key factors that may impact sleep in older adults in inpatient rehabilitation facilities, such as behavioral and environmental factors, psychosocial and emotional factors, medical conditions, and medications were identified.


Current literature on the factors associated with sleep disturbance in older adults in IRFs is based on work with community-dwelling older adults and those in long-term care facilities. While interventions to address these disorders and research investigation key factors associated with sleep problems among older adults appear in the literature, there is very little work that applies these interventions within IRFs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Research is needed to examine the impact of sleep problems on older adults in IRFs, including work that focuses on intervention trials to identify successful treatments for these problems and translate those approaches into practice.