Less Hospital Noise Improves Patient Care – NYTimes.com

All of us who have spent time in hospitals know this. All the alerts, beeps, intercom announcements make it hard to sleep, as well as the drug, blood test and other schedules that are organized around the hospital schedule, not the patient (how many times have I had to be woken up for one or the other). No easy solutions here (apart from trying to get out of hospital as soon as possible!) but some initiatives to reduce the interruptions. Quote:

To change this culture, some health care systems have initiated hospitalwide campaigns, with names like “Shhh” (Silent Hospitals Help Healing), “Hush” (Help Us Support Healing) or simply “Too Loud,” that institute mandatory quiet times, designate noise reduction teams to encourage compliance and use sound meters in the shape of traffic lights or human ears that turn green when the noise level is acceptable, yellow when it increases, and red when it goes above the acceptable range.

With the support of Planetree, one hospital system, the Department of Veterans Affairs New Jersey Health Care System, has gone beyond minimizing noise and actively elicits suggestions from patients on how the hospital can help them sleep better. When admitted to the hospital, all patients are asked about their sleep patterns, then given a laminated “sleep menu” card from which they can choose a variety of sleep aids, like light-blocking masks, sound machines, warmed blankets and aromatherapy. The patients’ sleep preferences are then posted in their rooms to alert staff members, and a nurse assesses their sleep experience each day.

While it is still too early to know whether any of these initiatives will prove successful, it is now clear that patient complaints about noise and lack of sleep are critical to quality of care. “Sleep is such a powerful source of resilience,” Dr. Buxton said. “Its absence results in a degradation of that resilience.”

“We need to change how we view noise and sleep,” he added. “We need to begin grouping sleep with all the other things we do to make patients better.”

Less Hospital Noise Improves Patient Care – NYTimes.com.

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