Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Frerichs, Marian

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

School of Nursing


Chest--Surgery--Psychological aspects; Surgery--Psychological aspects; Sleep therapy


This study was conducted to determine if there is a difference between post-thoracotomy patients who receive uninterrupted sleep periods versus those receiving standard care in a surgical intensive care unit (SICU) and the subsequent development of mental status alterations. The convenience sample of 30 postoperative thoracotomy patients were sequentially assigned to the Standard and Modified protocol groups. The Standard protocol group consisted of the first 15 patients admitted to the SICU and for whom the usual and customary nursing care was provided. The provision of uninterrupted rest/sleep periods on the night shift (11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.) was attempted for the second 15 patients, the Modified protocol group. The Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire (SPMSQ) was administered to all patients in both groups preoperatively, approximately six hours postoperatively and then every 24 hours for three consecutive days in the SICU. To test the equivalency of the groups, the student t-test was utilized to compare the group means of age, preoperative hospitalization length, postoperative analgesia and uninterrupted periods for rest/sleep actually obtained on the night shift. Also, a contingency table was constructed to compare preoperative mental status between the two groups. The preoperative mental status of the Standard protocol group was identical to the Modified protocol group and there were no significant differences between the group means of preoperative hospital stay, postoperative analgesia and combined total uninterrupted rest/sleep periods obtained. Significant differences were noted in the group means of age and uninterrupted rest/sleep periods obtained on the second of the 3 nights. These statistics indicated that the Modified group was older than the Standard group, and the Modified group received more uninterrupted rest/sleep periods only on the second night. The SPMSQ scores demonstrated no severely impaired patient in either group. Most of the patients (81 percent) were classified as intact regardless of group status. Chi-square analysis of mental status indicated no significant differences between groups.


Bibliography: pages 38-41.


vii, 46 pages




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