Current Knowledge/Study Rationale: Parental caregivers of children with chronic illnesses are known to have shorter sleep duration and poorer quality sleep, as well as poorer health related quality of life (HRQOL). However, objective sleep patterns, night-to-night variability in sleep, and the relationship between sleep and HRQOL have not been previously examined in this population.
Study Impact: This study has shown that in families with ventilator-assisted children, parent sleep is not only shorter, but more variable. Further, the instability in sleep patterns was significantly related to multiple aspects of HRQOL. Because of the high demands places on parental caregivers in terms of medical care for their children, increased support, including nursing and/or respite care, is needed to improve the quantity and quality of parent sleep.