Imagine for a moment someone waking you up every two hours every night, just to check that you are ok. Under these circumstances, a good night sleep as well as being healthy and happy during the day would be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, this is often the tiring reality for many care home residents around the UK.
What We’ve Learned About Sleep Disturbance In Care Homes
When a care home first starts using Ally, our resident acoustic monitoring system, staff continue to do their regular check rounds in addition to receiving proactive alerts form the Ally app, for incidents such as when residents are awake, calling for help, or generally restless.
This week gives each team member some time to get used to using the Ally app, as well as giving our artificial intelligence time to personalise the alerts by learning the normal patterns of behaviours and associated sounds relating to the individual resident.
When first using Ally it became clear how often regular checks wake residents up, with staff commonly receiving alerts soon after.
During this week our data shows how often these regular checks disturb and wake residents up. We found on average:
of all checks are done when residents are asleep.
of checks disturb sleeping residents.
of checks wake residents up to the point of needing assistance..
For many residents this means being woken up every night!
Safely Removing Checks Promotes Good Sleep
After this week, care homes will either remove or extend the regular checks (typically to 4-6 hours). Instead, relying on Ally’s continuous monitoring and proactive alerts to enable their staff to provide a safer and more responsive service all whilst helping residents sleep better.
With fewer regular checks, residents are now woken up 80-90% less.
To put this into context this is the difference between being woken up once every night to once every 8-10 days!
This change helps promote the development of an improved sleep cycle for the residents over the coming months, which can both be seen in Ally’s data and from carers own observation:
Within The First Week:
The number of alerts staff respond to for residents being active and in need of assistance tends to fall by 10-20%.
Within One Month:
Day and night care staff start to observe an impact on residents’ sleep patterns and daytime wellbeing.
Within Three Months:
Our data shows that, residents are sleeping for significantly longer periods, the total alert number has decreased by ~40-65%.
Simply, my care team now has much more time to care for residents that need it
With staff no longer doing regular checks and residents sleeping better, care homes using Ally see the number of night time checks decrease by 75%, which ultimately equates to staff getting back up to 40% of their time at night.
This allows staff to spend significantly more time with residents who need attention and carry out other tasks such as updating care plans.
Why Should Care Homes Care About Sleep?
It has long been told that 8-9 hours of sleep is important to reboot your brain after a day of activity, but more and more scientists are learning how vital it is for our mental health, physical health and overall wellbeing. This is especially true as we get older.
Circadian rhythms are vital for our bodies to operate at their optimum. When they are thrown off, i.e. when our sleep is disturbed, it means that the body’s systems don’t have the opportunity to regenerate and work as efficiently as they can. As you get older you still need 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Both night and day time carers know too well how much a resident’s wellbeing suffers when they don’t sleep well. Residents may:
- Be irritable or feel depressed
- Have more memory problems
- Be prone to more falls or accidents
Improving sleep is proven to have a significant positive impact on wellbeing.
We are now able to respond to residents’ needs better, understand how to better care for them round the clock, and also ensure we give them the best night’s sleep possible
Residents’ Health and Wellbeing is the Big Winner
To dig a little further into what improved sleep means for residents’ long term health and wellbeing, we have been carrying out a longer-term study sponsored by NHS Digital, comparing care record data from the six months prior and after installation.
To date, we have found that the combination of enabling proactive care and better sleep meant residents had 55% fewer falls and are admitted to hospital 20% less. In addition, agitated episodes during the day are almost completely removed, whilst the use of night-time medication is often changed and reduced.
Investing in Better Sleep Delivers Care Homes a 7x ROI
How is technology and equipment used to enhance the delivery of effective care and support, and to promote people’s independence? — CQC, KLOE 3.1E
By investing in technology that enables better sleep and person-centred care for your residents, care homes can look to reinforce or improve their CQC rating whilst also promoting the benefits to residents and staff to become the go-to local care home. Helping to reduce staff costs and increase revenues.
Based solely on giving staff back 40% of their time to spend on other care tasks, care homes gain an equivalent value of £13,000/year/staff member on a night shift, a 7x ROI.
This is before additional benefits, such as better staff satisfaction and retention, decreased vacancy rates or admitting higher dependency residents, are taken into account.
All our relatives have really embraced Ally. We can now give relatives so much more information then before and show how much our care has improved.
Introducing Ally has been really positive for our existing families as well as new admissions
Our Founding Story
Ally was formed as a result of founders witnessing the rapid decline of their loved ones in care homes due to sleep deprivation. They saw an opportunity to make positive changes to care home residents’ quality of life and thus Ally was born.
To find out more how Ally would help you improve the care outcomes, the wellbeing for your residents do get in touch.