To manage the impact on staff from patients with sundowner's syndrome, nursing homes can adjust their schedule of meals and activities, keep the facility well lit, create a calm atmosphere and have adequate safety measures, reports WebMD. They can also try to minimize confusion during evening staff changes, adds Mayo Clinic. Some patients may benefit from a minimal dose of melatonin, which induces drowsiness.
Nursing homes should maintain regular routines for wake-up, daily activities, meals and bedtime, advises WebMD. Patients should have visits, appointments, outings, exercise and naps early in the day. Additionally, patients should eat the larger meal of the day early and something lighter in the evening. Because shadows can bring on fear and confusion, staff should close curtains and turn on plenty of lights in the evening. They should keep the facility at a comfortable temperature and eliminate clutter.
Keeping music relaxing rather than loud and limiting television helps maintain a calm atmosphere, explains WebMD. Staff should remain reassuring and calm, refrain from arguing with patients, and allow them to move around as long as they are safe. Patients may benefit from having photographs and other familiar items nearby, according to Mayo Clinic. Facilities should check if some patients' unease may be caused by a physical malady such as sleep apnea or a urinary tract infection that hinders their rest.