Many patients have trouble sleeping in an unfamiliar overnight clinic. Healthy sleep is important for recovery; work to create an environment that encourages your patients to relax and rest.
Observe Quiet Times
Overnight clinics can be surprisingly loud. Many patients complain about the noise caused by nurses and hospital staff performing their nightly duties.
Start by instituting a “quiet time” policy after your main business hours have ended. Schedule loud or disruptive tasks outside of these hours. If you have a large group of overnight staff, provide a breakroom where they can have conversations without waking their patients.
During this quiet window, dim or turn off as many lights as possible. Provide nurses with a soft flashlight to use when they need to access equipment or supplies.
Provide a Place to Keep Valuables
Sleeping in an unfamiliar environment is difficult without a sense of security. Even if you trust your staff completely, your patients may be hesitant to sleep while their possessions remain unguarded.
Many hotel rooms provide a small safe to keep valuables in. Copy this practice in your clinic; use an electronic lock so that patients can store possessions at their own convenience. Whether or not they use the safe, your patients will appreciate the show of concern.
Offer Prepackaged Amenities
Let your patients relax during their stay by providing necessary amenities. Keep a store of items like toothpaste, floss, shampoo, and other bathroom products. You can usually purchase travel-size versions of these items in bulk.
You should also provide amenities specific to the hospital environment. The oral appliances used for dental sleep apnea treatment often require liners; keep a store of these in case a patient needs to use a mask overnight.
Finally, keep a supply of extra bedding. A second blanket or an extra pillow will help many patients fall asleep. Consider providing a list of all available amenities; patients will request the ones they need.
Provide a Gentle Wake-Up Call
Clinic life starts early, but many patients are not used to being woken at 6 am. Let your patients know when to expect a sudden increase in light and sound, and suggest that they go to bed a little early.
For patients with morning surgeries or appointments, consider a wake-up call. Everyone wants time to shower and get dressed before the day starts. The ideal wake-up gives patients at least an hour to get ready before breakfast is served.
You can create a comfortable overnight experience with consideration and foresight. Keep a well-stocked supply closet so that patients can leave things at home. Maintain a schedule of quiet hours and business hours, and let patients know about the schedule when they arrive. Small touches and a soft bed are enough for most people to peacefully fall asleep.