Saturday, January 23, 2021
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Find nourishment where you can

Hospice / End of Life   Patient Care   Food & Nutrition  Wellness

Today’s Read: 3.5 minutes

Today we examine sleeping in an active ICU, how end-of-life decisions affect relatives and clinicians, whether meal kits provide a healthy solution to dinner, and stress in November.

Plus, there are hugs to go around.


How the ICU impairs sleep

The ICU impairs sleep for patients, concludes a small study in the Journal of Sleep Research. Ten healthy nurses and doctors with no sleep disorder history or employment in the ICU were asked to sleep at home, in an unfamiliar environment (this was the control), and in an active ICU.

Researchers found that the control and ICU environments were brighter, noisier, and warmer than the home environment. Sleep in the ICU was perceived as qualitatively worse than in the home and control environment, despite relatively modest effects compared with home sleep: mean total sleep times were reduced by 48 min, mean rapid eye movement sleep latency increased by 45 min, and the arousal index increased by 9 points. Arousability to an awake state by sound was similar for all environments. So while there have been efforts to limit environmental noise in the ICU, more needs to be done to investigate and limit exposure to all sleep disruptive factors, conclude the researchers.

The effect of EOL decision-making on relatives and clinicians

End-of-life (EOL) decision-making is stressful–both on the family and on the clinicians. German researchers found that increased family involvement in the EOL decision-making helped families with the aftermath of death, but family involvement actually increased the risk of clinician burnout. Specifically, clinician burnout was 29% before the intervention to improve timeliness, clinician involvement, and organizational support. After the intervention, clinician burnout rose to 41%. Residents and nurses were more often the ones speaking to the families; nurses often having more sufficient information to do so—62% of the time compared to 41% of the time for residents. As with most research surrounding burnout, more needs to be done to understand what can be done to reduce its impact on providers.

If meal kits are your go-to cooking tool

Australian researchers examined 346 recipes from meal kit companies and found that the meals were relatively high in calories from fat and protein. Specifically, the average meal contained a median of:

  • 678 calories,
  • 58 grams of carbohydrate,
  • 44 grams of protein,
  • 28 grams of total fat,
  • 8 grams of saturated fat,
  • 14 grams of sugar, and
  • 839 milligrams of sodium. 

The average macronutrient breakdown is 38% total fat, 34% carbohydrates, and 25% protein. Some of the positive qualities were that the meals had a number—at least three—different vegetables.

The takeaway: When deciding which meals to order for the week, consider options that have less than 400 calories per serving and 140 milligrams of sodium per serving, and adding vegetables to the dishes.



The percentage of people in the U.S. who say that their stress levels have decreased since Election Day 2020, according to a new survey from the Harris Poll and the American Psychological Association. The small percent could reflect that respondents said that their stress about the pandemic has increased over the past month.


Everyone needs a hug…especially baby goats.

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