An independent evaluation of the outcomes of our sleep counselling service was conducted by the Centre For Health And Social Care Research (CHSCR), a health services research unit based within the National Health Service.
The evaluation involved semi-structured interviews with 20 families before and after they took part in sleep counselling, in addition to an analysis of their stress levels over the same period. Information was also gathered from sleep counsellors and other professionals who had regular contact with the children of the families.
The main findings of the evaluation were the following:
- 16 out of 17 families who were followed up had either surpassed their initial goals, or achieved them fully or partly.
- more than half of parents who took part in sleep counselling felt that their child's sleep problem had significantly improved in a number of ways.
- there were noticeable improvements in family life, with more time available to spend with partners or other children.
- stress and anxiety levels were significantly lower among parents after they took part in sleep counselling.
- the flexible and practical advice for dealing with sleep problems helped to build confidence among parents.
- some parents found coping at work was easier as a result of sleep counselling.
- the majority of parents received little or no support or information prior to contacting Sleep Scotland.
- there is a definite need for support for families with children who have additional support needs and sleep problems.