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Barriers, Critical care, ICU, Intensive care, Perceptions, Quality, Sleep, Surgical



  1. Longley, Laura MSN, RN, CCRN, CCNS, TCRN
  2. Simons, Theresa BSN, RN, CCRN
  3. Glanzer, Luella BSN, RN, CCRN
  4. Du, Claire BSN, RN, CCRN
  5. Trinks, Heather BSN, RN
  6. Letzkus, Lisa PhD, RN, CPNP-AC, CCRN
  7. Quatrara, Beth DNP, RN, CMSRN, ACNS-BC


Background: Evidence points to the adverse effects of sleep deprivation on a person's health. Despite decades of attention to the issue, patients, particularly those in the intensive care unit (ICU), continue to suffer.


Objective: The purpose of this pilot study was to examine patients' perceptions of their sleep experience in the surgical trauma burn ICU and identify contributing factors.


Methodology: Patients were administered the 6-question Richards-Campbell Sleep Questionnaire (RCSQ) consisting of a 0- to 100-mm scale, with a low score indicating poor sleep quality. They were also asked an additional open-ended question.


Results: Sixty patients participated. Data revealed a low overall RCSQ score of 43.6 of 100. Of the 5 validated questions on the RCSQ, the question with the lowest mean (35.6) targeted depth of sleep. The question pertaining to falling asleep immediately scored the highest at 52.2. The open-ended question revealed that 37% reported "interruptions" as the reason for not sleeping. Pain was also cited as a factor by 30%, with 11.7% citing discomfort from the bed as an irritant. An additional 21.6% reported noise as the central reason, with "pumps/monitor" noise as the most frequent culprit at 62%.


Discussion: The pilot study results demonstrate that most participants perceived their sleep as poor in quality. These results direct targeted interventions that can be incorporated to reduce sleep deprivation in ICUs.