Skip to comments.Hospital Noise Spoiling Patient's Sleep
Posted on 06/13/2012 3:36:36 AM PDT by JoeProBono
Anyone who has been sick can appreciate the joy of a good night's sleep, but in a large institution like a hospital, there are necessities of running the establishment that can disturb a patient's peace. All the more so with all manner of electronic equipment, cell phones, alarms, intercoms and such like, that produce sounds to wake the dead. However the association between noise disruption and sleep patterns had not been studied in great detail.
A report published in Annals of Internal Medicine goes some way to solving the issues with Orfeu Buxton, a neuroscientist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and his team looking into the problem in depth. As Buxton aptly puts it "It's nerve-wracking enough to be a hospitalized patient, and there's a lot of racket at night."
Patients agree: with one of their main complaints in a recent hospital survey being night time noise pollution but obviously there are practical considerations involved and as Jeremy Ackerman from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, a member of the international Healthcare Acoustics Research Team puts it :
"We don't necessarily just have to make (the hospital) quieter ... We need to be particularly careful to avoid designing into systems and into the architecture very disruptive sounds ... we have a general sense that loud sounds, interruptive sounds all create an environment that is likely to slow healing."
Research has shown that background noise in a hospital can spike up to 80dB about as loud as a chainsaw. Obviously that kind of racket would wake most people up, but to make changes a more detailed evaluation was needed. With this in mind, Buxton's team took 12 healthy subjects and played sounds while they slept. The recordings were mainly taken from hospitals and included things such as IV pump alarms, people talking, a plane flying overhead and a laundry cart rolling down the hall. Using Encephalographic studies of the patients, and by using established sleep criteria, the subjects were tested during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM stages 2 and 3.
In all they found that alarms and voices were the worst offenders, which makes sense, since alarms are designed to attract attention and the importance of what is being said tends to attract a person's attention more than the hum of an AC unit or a door closing. The brain can filter out those kinds of sounds as unimportant........
You don’t go to a hospital to get any sleep. You are there to get treatments or monitoring that you normally can’t get as an out patient.
You are right. You don’;t get any rest in the hospital, and it isn’t the noise so much as the Nurse coming to check BP, change IV bottles, and ding her’his other duties.
Can’t be helped.
I dunno, I didn’t mind so much the one and only time I was in the hospital when the very cute nurse came in to check on me.
Now when shift change occurred and broomhilda came on duty I was quite upset that I couldnt sleep.
Yep. You are a slab of meat getting treatments. (It is no hotel.) ;-)
being in a hospital is a horrible ordeal, all the racket, light, taking vitals in the middle of the night, not to mention the food
I dont have much experience with hospitals, I spent a couple weeks in the ICU at the Annapolis Naval Academy hospital and much later a couple weeks in Portsmouth Naval Hospital. Both were quiet at night.
I was just saying to my mom that there is a need for something in between the hospital and going home, where you can actually get some peace and quiet.
Ah! Hospital food!
When I was in the Annapolis hospital my meals (due to my injury) mostly consisted of an IV, Jell-O, broth and decaf coffee. The Navy Commander across from me often had steak dinners. He obviously enjoyed them and would smile and ask me how I enjoyed my green Jell-O.
When I was in the Portsmouth hospital I had regular but bland food. No salt and decaf coffee.
When I was in the hospital for four back surgeries, I was so ripped, I didn’t know what day it was. What really pissed me off was that the remote changed channels one way. If you miss your channel you have to go through 150 channels to get back there. Combine that with morphine and you have an unhappy camper.
Like a halfway house for the ill??
yeah, you know maybe you could even voluntarily check in to get taken care of and heal up
You had a TV that worked? ;-)
I always thought that the old joke about the hospital staff waking you up to give you sleeping pills was just that, a joke.
I found out different when I was in the hospital for a heart problem.
They actually woke me up to give me sleeping pills.
The night after my appendix was removed, the nurse woke me up to give me a pill to help me sleep. Duh!
Most X-rays are done with portable machines in the unit so that's additional noise. All patients are on IV's and hooked to heart and vital sign moniters. There is almost always an IV beeping because it's empty or the patient bent their arm which stopped the med from running or something else wrong. The moniters beep if the blood pressure is too high or low, the oxygen saturation drops, the heartbeat gets tachy or too low or something more serious.
The beds are made with bed alarms that are set to go off when a patient gets too close to getting out of bed. Many patients are high fall risks and the alarm will alert us before the patient is out and up on their feet. There's another alarm to wake everyone up.
Intubated patient needs a cat scan or MRI, we transport him or her down ourselves to get it. Need respiratory therapist with us and that can get a little noisy and distracting for other patients as we push the heavy bed and equipment by them. Double the chaos when we have one of those huge specialty beds for the (ahem) larger patients.
The phones ring constantly. The xerox/fax machine is not very quiet. And then somebody from a med supply company comes by to have an inservice right outside the rooms for the latest fecal collection bag or something. They have to have most of those for the staff in the unit because the nurses cannot afford to be away from their patients, nor do they want to.
Then there's the families and friends who want to visit their loved ones. They aren't, for the most part, noisy or disruptive. However, as God as my witness, I've watched as a group of them will surround Grandpa's bed and get down in his face, poke him to tell him over and over for a solid half hour or more that they want him to get better and he needs his rest and try to sleep. If his eye blinks they rush up to the bed again, start poking him and asking him what he needs (meanwhile Grandpa has an intubation tube down his throat and can't talk) and this lasts another half hour. Then they will get back to their chairs and yak about life. Sometimes there will be 4-5 or more visitors at a time and we no longer can force a limit of 2 at a time.
We get alot of patients in isolation and when the nurses are in their rooms all gowned and gloved up, they yell out to the tech (me) when they need supplies. My ears hurt when I get someone screeching "I need this. I need that." Can only imagine how the patient feels.
After 8 or 12 hours of this extra sensory stimulation, when I get home, I want to be alone. I sympathize with those who are sick and can't get away from all of this.
But with all the advances in medicine and cures and cares, how can this be avoided? I don't have an answer. Many hospitals have been working hard on avoiding mistakes, reducing hospital acquired infections and fixing things that cause more harm to patients. This may be the next thing that they address.
Cant be helped.
Some of it can’t be helped, but from what I have seen, in separate hospitalizations involving my husband, a lot of the noise pollution comes from the loud conversations among inconsiderate personnel — not usually the RNs. Shift changes were the worst time as they shouted their greetings to one another up and down the halls.
Recovering in the Intensive Care room, it wasn’t the noise that bothered me (nurses playing Monopoly all night was distracting, but let ‘em have their fun), it was THE D@#^ CLOCK WAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE BED. 2:30AM ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick ... tick AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMAKEITSTOPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
I understand. Perhaps the patients just need ear plugs. ;-)
It was similar for me as well. They would wake me up every hour or so for pain meds, and I would say “If I’m asleep, obviously I’m comfortable enough that I don’t need to take the blasted meds.”
My 81 year old father just had quadruple bypass a few months ago...he spent quite awhile in ICU. I was flabergasted at the constant noise and the seemingly obliviousness of the staff....waking up a very sick man to do the most innocuous things....they wouldn’t even try to lump things together to minimize the disruptions to his sleep.
Between the sleep depravation and the affects of anesthsia, he began to hallucinate. I truly believe the sleep deprivation significantly slowed his recovery and nearly killed him. I wonder how many folks in weaker conditions, who die, maybe not directly from sleep deprivation but as a contributing factor. i would say quite a few.
I think there is a lot of room for improvement in that area of hospitalization.
I have a dream where one day we can dictate how we are treated by being allowed to make informed decisions about our own care even saying that we want to be left alone if our vitals are normal and we are sleeping peacefully. I think sleep is the best medicine in most cases.
A nurse coming in at 2:00 am to check the machine. My eyes popped open.
"Are you asleep?"
First night I said, "no" and she offered me a sleeping pill. The subsequent nights I said "yes" and she would snicker and leave.
BS. My infant daughter in the NICU was almost killed by the noise - because she could not sleep.
drop the pig and answer the mail.
After being in the hospital a few times, I brought ear plugs on my recent stay. Then the nurses wonder why you aren't waking up and get right in your face. A pillow from home is also a must. After being on a breathing tube, chapstick is worth its weight in gold.
I had a nurse do a follow up call after I got home and she said the hospital isn't where you get well, home is where you get well. The hospital is for treatments and monitoring.