The importance of a good night's sleep for patients is at the
heart of an initiative in hospitals across County Durham &
The Invest in Rest Charter aims to ensure wards offer a restful
environment at night, so patients can benefit from a good night's
sleep which can be an essential part of their recovery.
Associate director of nursing at County Durham & Darlington
NHS Foundation Trust, Jason Cram, said, "Clinical care continues
regardless of the time of day or night, but we've taken some
practical steps to minimise disturbances and interruptions during
the night so our patients can rest. We want them to have the
very best experience in our care - and that includes a good night's
"Our Invest in Rest Charter, offers information, guidance and
useful tips for patients, visitors and staff on the role they can
each play. We've placed a copy of the charter above each patient's
bed to act as a reminder to all of us. We also give a copy to
new patients when they're admitted. After all, good sleep can help
recovery, even reducing the length of hospital stays. We're
doing this across all our hospital sites.
"Corridor lights are dimmed from 8.30pm and lights in patient
rooms are switched off at 10.00pm - though patients can continue to
use the light above their bed after that if they wish to read, for
instance. These lights can be set so they minimise the effect
on other patients. We also offer ear plugs and eye masks for
patients who want them.
"Most of our ward doors now have 'soft close' hinges so they
don't bang shut and as we replace waste bins, they also have 'soft
close' lids. Ward teams are asked to keep their voices low
and to remind doctors and other colleagues visiting patients during
the night to do the same. At night, ward phones and bedside buzzers
also have their volume settings lowered, so they can still be heard
but with minimal disruption."
Charge nurse, Lee Hardy, who manages a ward a Darlington
Memorial Hospital, added; "These are simple steps but they're
making a huge difference to our patients. As well as creating
a calm environment, we're also helping patients to be as
comfortable as possible, including having pain relief if they need
it, going to the toilet before settling into bed, have enough
blankets, for example. As a ward team, we're also
committed to doing all we can not to disturb our patients during
the night, prioritising their need to sleep."
Published 21st January 2019
'As I was very, very nervous, I must have been the worst patient
ever and they were brilliant with me and I can't thank them enough
- could you please pass on my sincere thanks.'
Patient, Hysteroscopy Unit, Chester-le-Street Community