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Sleep Disorders
Volume 2014, Article ID 286274, 9 pages
Research Article

Healthcare Providers’ Knowledge of Disordered Sleep, Sleep Assessment Tools, and Nonpharmacological Sleep Interventions for Persons Living with Dementia: A National Survey

1Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Alberta, 2-64 Corbett Hall, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2G4
2Occupational Therapy, Central Queensland University, Building 6, Bruce Highway, Rockhampton, QLD 4702, Australia
3Faculty of Nursing, Edmonton Clinic Health Academy, University of Alberta, 87 Avenue, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 1C9
4Department of Physical Therapy, University of Alberta, 3-44C Corbett Hall, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2G4

Received 27 August 2013; Accepted 12 February 2014; Published 17 March 2014

Academic Editor: Luigi J. Ferini-Strambi

Copyright © 2014 Cary A. Brown et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A large proportion of persons with dementia will also experience disordered sleep. Disordered sleep in dementia is a common reason for institutionalization and affects cognition, fall risk, agitation, self-care ability, and overall health and quality of life. This report presents findings of a survey of healthcare providers’ awareness of sleep issues, assessment practices, and nonpharmacological sleep interventions for persons with dementia. There were 1846 participants, with the majority being from nursing and rehabilitation. One-third worked in long-term care settings and one-third in acute care. Few reported working in the community. Findings revealed that participants understated the incidence of sleep deficiencies in persons with dementia and generally lacked awareness of the relationship between disordered sleep and dementia. Their knowledge of sleep assessment tools was limited to caregiver reports, self-reports, and sleep diaries, with few using standardized tools or other assessment methods. The relationship between disordered sleep and comorbid conditions was not well understood. The three most common nonpharmacological sleep interventions participants identified using were a regular bedtime routine, increased daytime activity, and restricted caffeine. Awareness of other evidence-based interventions was low. These findings will guide evidence-informed research to develop and test more targeted and contextualized sleep and dementia knowledge translation strategies.