• Chinese older male;
  • nurses;
  • nursing;
  • sleep

Aim and objectives.  The aim of this study was to examine the sleep experiences of older patients during a period of hospitalization on an extended care ward.

Background.  Hospital wards have been demonstrated as environments that are not conducive to sleep for patients. Findings highlight the difficulties of falling asleep and getting insufficient sleep as the major causes of sleep disturbances. Such studies limit themselves to patients of Intensive Care Units and acute care settings. Relatively little is known about understanding the sleep experiences of older patients whilst hospitalized on extended care wards.

Method.  An exploratory qualitative design was used with a convenience sample of six Chinese male informants, recruited from an extended care ward of a Rehabilitation Hospital in Hong Kong. Multiple data collection methods were used, including repeated semi-structured interviews and a one-week sleep diary.

Results.  The findings demonstrated that all informants experienced dynamic changes in their sleeping patterns during hospitalization, resulting in sleep disruption and deprivation. The public nature of the ward environment and perceived sense of helplessness significantly interfered with sleep. Some cultural beliefs and practices were perceived by older patients to be associated with the quality of their sleep experiences.

Conclusion.  The findings contributed to an understanding of the sleep experiences of older patients during hospitalization.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Implications for nursing practice indicate the significance of including focused sleep assessment of patients during admission into the ward, so strategies perceived by older patients as being able to improve sleep would be included as part of the usual ward routine and nursing practice, where possible.