COSMIN database

Sleep assessment of hospitalised patients: a literature review

Hoey, L. M., Fulbrook, P., and Douglas, J. A.
BACKGROUND: Sleep is a dynamic and essential part of human life and health. In healthcare settings, nurses are strategically placed to promote sleep and sleep health. In this regard, nursing actions should be based upon effective methods of assessment of patient sleep. Standardised sleep assessment does not currently occur in the care of acute hospitalised patients. Use of an appropriate measurement tool would help evaluate inpatient sleep. An effective, efficient sleep assessment tool is needed to aid clinicians. Such assessment would enable specific nursing intervention to be tailored to individual patients.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this paper was to examine the literature on sleep measurement to identify subjective sleep assessment tools that may be suitable for routine use with hospitalised patients, and to evaluate their reliability and validity.

METHOD: A review of existing literature was undertaken to identify and evaluate subjective sleep measurement tools.

RESULTS: The initial literature searches identified 402 articles, of which ten met the criteria for review. These reported on three subjective sleep measurement scales: the Richards-Campbell Sleep Questionnaire; the St Mary's Hospital Sleep Questionnaire; and the Verran Snyder-Halpern Sleep Scale. The Richards-Campbell Sleep Questionnaire is brief and easy to use. In specific samples, its items correlate with domains reflecting sleep quality and has shown excellent internal consistency. Equivocal results and scoring challenges were found with the St Mary's Hospital Sleep Questionnaire. The Verran Snyder-Halpern Sleep Scale captured sleep disturbance and total sleep time, but time-to-complete is more burdensome than the Richards-Campbell Sleep Questionnaire.

CONCLUSIONS: The current use of sleep assessment instruments in the acute hospital setting is restricted mainly to research activities. Of the three tools identified that could be used clinically to measure inpatient sleep, and although it was developed for use in the intensive care setting, the Richards-Campbell Sleep Questionnaire held greatest potential due to its ease and rapidity of use. However, it has yet to be validated for use with general hospital inpatients, and further research is required in this area.
Int J Nurs Stud
1873-491X (Electronic)
Publication year:
Biological and physiological variables:
Biological and physiological variables
Symptom status:
Physical state
Adults (18-65)
Seniors (65+)
Codes for special purposes
PRO / non-PRO:
Non-patient Reported Outcome
Patient Reported Outcome
Type of measurement instrument:
1 - Questionnaires
6 - Clinical rating scales
RCSQ - Richards Campbell Sleep Questionnaire
SMHSQ - St. Mary’s Hospital Sleep Questionnaire
VSH Sleep Scale - Verran and Snyder-Halpern Sleep Scale