Nurse-led scheme improves sleep for vulnerable children and their parents

Sheffield programme has also enhanced their mental and physical health

Sheffield programme has also enhanced their mental and physical health

Sheffield Children’s Hospital is running the sleep scheme. Picture: Alamy

Nurses are helping vulnerable children to get a good night’s sleep in a scheme that has boosted the mental health of young people and their parents and carers.

The Sheffield-based programme aims to ensure that children from troubled backgrounds or with challenging behaviour receive support in developing better sleep patterns.

Bedtime routines

Sheffield Children’s Hospital trialled the scheme with the families of children with brain development disorders, or who have gone through past trauma that affects their sleep.

Parents and carers received help from healthcare professionals, including children’s nurses who specialise in sleep. They advised families and carers on how to organise bedtime routines and keep their children calm before they go to bed.

Improving quality of life

The hospital’s specialist sleep nurse Janine Reynolds said: ‘It’s so rewarding to see the huge improvement in the mental and physical health of both the patient and their parents when they can sleep for longer and have an easier bedtime.

‘As a nurse it’s a privilege to see the patient improve, potentially wean off medication, and overall have a better quality of life.’

The programme launched last year and has supported 800 children and their families in Sheffield.

NHS England helped to develop the scheme, and a spokesperson for the organisation said some of the children had gained an extra two hours of sleep per night.

They added that, as well as the benefits to children, the number of carers and parents reporting symptoms including headaches, anxiety, depression and infections fell by 16%, to just over half of those who took part in the programme.

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