Nursing Notes

June 7, 2010

Noise levels can be hazardous to patient safety

Filed under: Nursing — Shirley @ 2:51 am
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Image by peasap via Flickr

My hospital is very loud all the time.  It’s really an issue.  Some of it is the type of patient we have, some of it is the staff forgetting that others are sleeping, part of it is the actual routine of patient care and rounds.

My last overnight stay at a hospital was full of loud noises and I got no sleep at all.  That can’t be a good thing.


Hospitals are noisy places, and the increase in technology-based care has only added to the volume, according to an article in The Boston Globe. However, some hospitals are trying to reduce noise levels through unique building design and internal programs in an effort to not just make patients happier, but to improve their safety and potential for healing.

Studies have shown that patients heal faster when noise levels are lower, encouraging longer sleep periods with fewer disruptions. Additionally, the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey asks patients whether the areas around their rooms were kept quiet at night. Part of providing patient-centered care means taking into account what patients want from their care, and working with them to ensure these conditions happen during their time at the facility. Having a quiet room is often ranked highly.

In addition to building new hospitals with materials that are more sound absorbent, some facilities are instituting certain hours of the day that are considered to be “quiet hours” for patients, with limited interruptions. Although these types of activities are challenging to schedule, they can be worthwhile to increase healing time for patients. Other strategies include instituting noise monitoring technology to alert staff members to noise levels.

Is your hospital partaking in any of these noise-reducing activities? Here’s the full article from The Boston Globe.

This is from the Patient Safety Blog

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