Health care organizations should take essential steps to ensure that physicians and other clinicians get adequate sleep and rest, according to a new patient safety primer, Fatigue, Sleep Deprivation, and Patient Safety, available on the AHRQ Patient Safety Network. Sleep deprivation can affect cognitive function, potentially impairing mood, motivation, response time and initiative. Given the importance of sleep, The Joint Commission has called on health care organizations to take steps to mitigate the impact of extended work hours. Recommended steps include conducting risk assessments, ensuring evidence-based handoff practices, involving staff in design of work schedules, implementing a fatigue management plan, educating personnel about strategies to promote appropriate sleep and ensuring an adequate environment for sleep breaks.
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