Objective: To investigate the incidence of sleep disruption in people with chronic leg ulcers and to explore which factors may contribute to sleep problems.
Method: A questionnaire survey was completed by a convenience sample of 52 leg ulcer patients attending community-based Leg Clubs in England and Wales. The questionnaire assessed wound pain, quality of sleep, factors contributing to sleep disruption and general health.
Results: Sixty-nine per cent (n=36) of leg ulcer patients reported sleep disruption, with 88% stating that they wake at least once during the night. General wound pain was the most frequently-cited cause (58%), while pain associated with treatment affected the sleep of 38% of respondents. Additionally, nearly a third (n=14) expressed that worrying about their wound impacted on their sleep. A significant correlation was found between wound pain and sleep disruption.
Conclusion: The findings suggest that the majority of leg ulcer patients suffer sleep disruption, either as a direct consequence of wound pain or due to treatment-related or psychological issues associated with the wound. This has important implications for patient quality of life and also for the healing process; therefore, assessment and management of sleep problems in leg ulcer patients is essential.
Declaration of interest: This study was supported by a financial grant from Mölnlycke Health Care.