Sleep in Dementia Caregivers and the Effect of a Nighttime Monitoring System

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Dementia, caregivers, sleep, technology

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine if a nighttime home monitoring system, designed to track the movements of a care recipient with dementia, would relieve worry and improve sleep in caregivers of persons with dementia.

Design and Methods: In this controlled clinical trial, 49 dementia caregivers were followed for up to 1 year. Sleep was measured for 7-day intervals at nine points in time using actigraphy and a sleep diary.

Findings: Although the experimental caregivers generally reported that the system was “of great help” in relieving worry about nighttime activity, no significant group differences were found using multilevel modeling analyses. With regard to total sleep time, time awake after sleep onset, and sleep quality, multilevel models did not demonstrate any changes in sleep between groups, either averaged over time or for the interaction of group and time.

Conclusions: Since previous analysis of our qualitative data suggested improvements in caregiver worry and sleep, problems other than night awakenings may be perpetuating the sleep problem. Future studies should include testing of multimodal sleep interventions.

Clinical Relevance: Caregivers have high amounts of unwanted wake time during the night and additional research is needed to identify effective interventions to improve their sleep.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Nursing Scholarship, v. 42, issue 3, p. 338-347