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Research Article  |   September 1995
Effects of Afternoon Rest on the Performance of Geriatric Patients in a Rehabilitation Hospital: A Pilot Study
Author Affiliations
  • Cynthia Creighton, MA, OTR, is Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy Program, Barry University, 11300 N.E. 2nd Avenue, Miami Shores, Florida 33161-6695
Article Information
Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Research
Research Article   |   September 1995
Effects of Afternoon Rest on the Performance of Geriatric Patients in a Rehabilitation Hospital: A Pilot Study
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September 1995, Vol. 49, 775-779. doi:10.5014/ajot.49.8.775
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September 1995, Vol. 49, 775-779. doi:10.5014/ajot.49.8.775
Abstract

Objective. When a person is hospitalized, he or she enters an environment in which time is structured very differently than it is in everyday life. Research with healthy young subjects in sleep laboratories has indicated that disruption in activity-rest cycles significantly affects mood, physical skills, and cognitive performance. Older persons whose daily routines are upset when they become patients in a hospital may be even more vulnerable to performance deficits. This pilot study was implemented in a regional rehabilitation center as an initial step in exploring the relationships between variations in schedule and geriatric patients’ functioning while hospitalized.

Method. Single-subject methodology was used to study six elderly fracture patients’ responses to the addition of an afternoon nap to their daily routine. Data were collected each morning and afternoon, during “nap” and “no nap” weeks, with simple measures of alertness, concentration, strength, coordination, and reaction time.

Results. Tendencies toward late afternoon drowsiness and, in some cases, improved cognitive performance, were observed when naps were provided.

Conclusion. Data about the ways in which hospital routine affects performance can guide occupational therapists in advocating for balanced programs of activity and rest for older rehabilitation patients.