Author: Pernille Nielsen

The Importance of Sleep in Care Facilities

Tips & Advice

The Importance of Sleep in Care Facilities

Fragmented sleep can lead to several uncomfortable side effects, from memory and concentration issues to heightened risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes (4). Therefore, we need to prioritize ensuring good sleep quality for residents and patients in long-term care facilities.

Most of us know that sleep is important to both our mental and physical health. After a poor night’s sleep tossing and turning, most of us can feel groggy and beside ourselves. At the same time, sleep is a very personal matter. We prefer sleeping in our own beds, with our own pillow and duvet, and noises that aren’t familiar to us can wake us up or make it hard for us to fall asleep. The next day, it doesn’t take much to put us over the edge.

However, for people living in nursing homes or care facilities, the conditions for having a good night’s sleep are often compromised. The care schedule tells residents when and how to sleep, nightly disruptions are more frequent, and there are many disturbing elements such as lights and noises.

In fact, elderly people in long-term care facilities often experience some sort of sleep disruption. One study made of 492 nursing home residents reported that 69% of the residents slept during the day, and 60% of them had disturbed nighttime sleep (1). For residents living with Dementia, poor sleep is even more prevalent, and as the illness progresses, sleep becomes more and more fragmented (1).

Consequences of Poor Sleep

Poor sleep has several negative consequences for residents. These include irritability, poor concentration and memory, slower reaction time, and decreased performance (2).

In practice, this can result in more conflicts with staff, for instance when the staff has to check the resident’s incontinence product. On top of that the residents have less energy for rehabilitation and visits. Further, poor sleep also often results in short, unintentional naps throughout the day, e.g., during mealtimes, resulting in residents being put to bed again. Thus the residents end up spending more time in bed overall, not being physically active, and not spending time on social or rehabilitative efforts.

Considering the consequences of poor sleep, it is important that all health professionals, both day and night shifts, try to optimize sleep for residents. Good sleep leaves energy for rehabilitation exercises, visits from friends and family, and social activities. Combined, this increases the quality of life for residents.

Factors that Disturb Sleep

Today, people living in long-term care facilities have more complex illnesses and are in worse condition than what we have previously been used to. More residents need medicine, to be repositioned, or to have their incontinence product changed. These activities also go on throughout the night, making it difficult to create the environmental circumstances for good sleep.

Several environmental factors exist within nursing home settings that in themselves are disruptive to residents’ sleep.

Some of these factors are:

  • Bright lights – even during the night
  • Noise – from other residents, caregivers, TVs, medical equipment, and more
  • Continence care – checking the incontinence product during the night and changing wet bed linens
  • Little or no exposure to sunlight during the day
  • Too much caffeine during the day
  • No or too little physical activity

That said, other factors such as medications and psychiatric conditions can also contribute to bad sleep. In these cases, it is important to consult a doctor.

How to Improve Sleep Quality

Sleep hygiene is about creating habits and practices that are conducive to good sleep.

Some daytime environmental factors, that we know are conducive to good sleep include being exposed to daylight, being physically active, and having a consistent schedule of meals and activities (1).

Some suggestions for good sleep hygiene:

  • Keep residents’ rooms dark: Close the door and turn off the TV. A night light can be reassuring for some residents. Explore the option of Circadian Lighting.
  • Keep rooms at a comfortable temperature: Around 18-19 degrees Celsius is comfortable for many adults, but it may vary from person to person.
  • Keep noises to a minimum: Close the door, turn down TVs, and avoid talking amongst caregivers in the hallways.
  • Improve daytime environmental factors: Ensure physical activity and daylight exposure, and decrease daytime napping and late-night caffeine intake.
  • Limit fluid intake in the evening: Avoid offering too much to drink after 6 p.m. to reduce the need for night-time voiding, and remember that caffeine and alcohol can make incontinence worse.

A focus on improving sleep quality for residents in nursing homes and other care facilities can significantly improve quality of life. However, making a significant change requires commitment from staff at all levels, including management.

Giving residents the energy, they need to participate in social activities, rehabilitation, and visits from friends and family improve their quality of life. It also significantly improves the relationship between caregivers and residents as conflicts are reduced, while also decreasing the caregiver burden during the night.

This article has been written in close collaboration with in-house nurses at ABENA. 

All sources are available upon request.


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If you want to know more about sleep or if you have any questions about the contents of this article, please reach out to us. We’re happy to help!

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How Digital Incontinence Care Improves Sleep

Tips & Advice

How Digital Incontinence Care can Improve Sleep

Some of the procedures in continence care meant to keep residents dry often have the unintended side effect of disturbing residents’ sleep. Here’s how to fix it.

Incontinence Care Disturbs Sleep

Most people’s sleep becomes more and more fragmented as they get older. We sleep less, wake up too early, have a hard time falling asleep, etc. This can be due to many factors, including restless legs, depression, loneliness, respiratory issues, incontinence, and more (3).

When living in nursing homes or other care facilities, there are also environmental factors such as noise and bright lights during the night that can negatively affect residents’ sleep patterns.

Research has shown that noise during nighttime is often caused by staff, often while they provide incontinence and other personal care to residents (2). When this happens, residents are often also exposed to daytime lighting as caregivers need to turn on the light in the resident’s room, which further disrupts their sleep.

In some cases, nurses or caregivers perform manual checks of the incontinence product’s wetness level 2-3 times during the night – each time disturbing the resident’s natural sleep pattern.

While manual checks are necessary to prevent leakages and ensure that an incontinence product is changed in a timely manner, they have downsides for residents, patients, and health professionals.

A Straining Care Task

Continence care is a time-consuming and straining task for health professionals.

During a night shift, caregivers are responsible for several residents or patients, which results in many manual checks of incontinence products. If a product leaks, caregivers must then also hoist or help the patient out of bed, help them take a bath, and change the bed linens.

Therefore, minimizing the number of manual checks is beneficial for staff, residents, and patients. 

How to Avoid Leakages and Manual Checks

Digital continence care solutions such as ABENA Nova can make unnecessary manual checks a thing of the past.

A clip attached to the incontinence product continuously sends data to a smart device so that caregivers can always see the wetness level of the incontinence product.

When the incontinence product is saturated at a set level, a notification is sent to the smart device, letting caregivers know that it is time to change the product.

Caregivers are also notified if the product has been on for too long, and needs changing even if it hasn’t reached full saturation capacity. Further, caregivers are notified if a leak is imminent due to liquids being close to the edges of the product or if the product is reaching full saturation capacity.

This means that products are changed exactly when they need to be, thereby preventing many of the leakages that disturb residents’ sleep.

More Dignified Care

Improved sleep can lead to several benefits for the residents such as more energy for daily activities such as rehabilitation, visits, and card games. In some cases, having more energy can lead to residents being able to get dressed on their own or with a minimum of help from caregivers. Cognitively residents are also not as burdened if they have had a good night’s sleep.

At the same time, health professionals can focus their knowledge and expertise on other tasks, rather than incontinence care.

What is ABENA Nova?

The incontinence product has integrated sensors and contains a personal clip that measures saturation. The clip transmits information via Bluetooth and 4G network to the WetSens Monitor app, which is installed on the caregivers mobile device. The app allows caregivers to track saturation levels and take timely action when it is time for a change.



This article has been written in close collaboration with in-house nurses at ABENA. 

All sources are available upon request.


Do you want to know more?

If you want to know more about sleep or if you have any questions about the contents of this article, please reach out to us. We’re happy to help!

Contact ABENA Nova

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Royal introduction to the future of health care

ABENA Nova

Royal introduction to the future of health care

June, 2022

How can our health care systems meet the challenges of the future? This was the key topic of a seminar hosted at Oslo Science Park last week.

Future challenges

Health care systems across the world are facing many of the same challenges; aging populations, global pandemics, and a lack of qualified health care staff, all of which put pressure on local and global health care systems.

The seminar in Oslo focused on knowledge exchange of experiences and specific suggestions for meeting these challenges, and it was evident that the need for innovative technologies, that can pave the way for sustainable care, is on the rise.

Thought leaders

The seminar hosted speakers such as the Danish Minister for Industry, Business, and Financial Affairs, Simon Kollerup, and the Norwegian Minister of Health and Care Services, Ingvild Kjerkol.

Several leading Danish and Norwegian companies in the health care field also participated and had the opportunity to demonstrate their solutions, and share more about how they can help meet the demands of the future.

During the seminar, Global Concept Manager for ABENA Nova, Dag Winther Svendsen, had the pleasure of greeting HRH The Crown Princess of Denmark, who opened the event.

Global Concept Manager for ABENA Nova, Dag Winther Svendsen has the pleasure of meeting HRH The Crown Princess of Denmark.

Global Concept Manager for ABENA Nova, Dag Winther Svendsen has the pleasure of meeting HRH The Crown Princess of Denmark.

Innovative continence care

ABENA Nova is the result of our vision to change the world of continence care. We want to create a future with personalized care tailored for each individual. A future, where leakages, rashes, or wet incontinence products are no longer accepted as part of life in continence care.

At the same time, ABENA Nova can help reduce the strain on continence care tasks, as it minimizes the number of products that need to be changed as well as the number of leakages. This increases efficiency and dignity for the user.

With ABENA Nova, we merge innovative sensor technology with ABENA’s knowledge and premium incontinence products.

About our techonology

Press & Media Contact

For press and media inquiries, please contact:

Eva Sand

Digital Director
Egelund 35
6200 Aabenraa, Denmark

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