Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hospital noise initiative reduces average peak decibel levels by 20 percent

01.12.2009
Patients often complain that getting a good night's sleep or a bit of peace and quiet in hospital can be difficult. But a study published in the December issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing has shown that adopting some simple measures can reduce peak noise levels on hospital wards by just under 20 per cent.

UK researchers from Newcastle upon Tyne audited average decibel levels before and after a noise reduction intervention programme on three wards with a total of 92 beds - a surgical ward, medical ward and orthopaedic ward.

Forty-six ward staff – just over 51 per cent of the total – took part in the initiative, along with five members of the multi-disciplinary team, including a physiotherapist and junior doctors. The training was delivered on an individual basis by the same staff nurse to ensure consistency.

"Hospitals can be very noisy places" explains lead author Annette Richardson, a nurse consultant in critical care at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. "Dropping a stainless steel bowl creates 108 decibels, which is more than the 100 decibels from a nearby car horn or chainsaw. Even opening a packet of rubber gloves creates 86 decibels, which is louder than heavy traffic at 80 decibels.

"Our study found that peak decibel levels at the start of the study were 96.48 decibels over 24 hours and at the end of the study they had gone down to 77.52 decibels, an overall reduction of just under a fifth."

After the initial noise levels were monitored, key parts of the ward environment were reviewed against clinical guidelines put together by a working group led by a nurse consultant and involving ward sisters, staff nurses and modern matrons from the different specialist areas.

These included the door entry system, the position, number and volume of telephones, the patientline system, the nurse call system and the physical make-up of the ward, including floors, drawers and rubbish bins.

"A number of practical steps were taken to reduce noise" says Ms Richardson who won a prestigious Nursing Times award for her clinical work in promoting sleep for critical care patients.

"Telephones were turned down at night or switched to vibrate and carried by a member of staff, staff wore soft soled shoes and changes were made to the night call systems.

"We also displayed posters at nursing stations highlighting the noise created by certain activities, the impact on patients and sleep promotion guidelines."

When the pre and post intervention noise levels were measured they were found to be remarkably similar on all three wards, despite the fact that they operate differently. Peak levels in the surgical ward fell by 18 per cent from 95.13 decibels to 77.65, in the medical ward they fell by 20 per cent from 97.04 decibels to 77.70 and in the orthopaedic ward they fell by 21 per cent from 97.27 decibels to 77.52.

UK legislation expects employers to carry out a risk assessment if employees are exposed to peak levels higher than 80 decibels, but no patient focused standards are set for the National Health Service. However, the United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends levels of 45 decibels for day-time noise in hospital settings and 35 decibels for night-time noise. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has recommended that noise levels should not exceed 35 decibels in rooms where patients are treated or observed.

"The main significant finding of our study was the reduction in average peak noise levels on all wards" says Ms Richardson. "Previous studies have shown how patients can become accustomed to low-level white noise, but they can be more aware of high pitched, irregular sounds.

"Sleep deprivation is detrimental to patients with acute illness, so any developments to improve patients' sleep are important.

"This nurse-led practice development programme has shown how improvements can be achieved by significantly reducing peak noise levels by making simple changes to ward routines."

Development and implementation of a noise reduction intervention programme: a pre and post audit of three hospital wards. Richardson et al. Journal of Clinical Nursing. 18, 3316-3324. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2009.02897.x

Founded in 1992, Journal of Clinical Nursing is a highly regarded peer reviewed Journal that has a truly international readership. The Journal embraces experienced clinical nurses, student nurses and health professionals, who support, inform and investigate nursing practice. It enlightens, educates, explores, debates and challenges the foundations of clinical health care knowledge and practice worldwide. Edited by Professor Roger Watson, it is published 10 times a year by Blackwell Publishing Ltd, part of the international Blackwell Publishing group. www.blackwellpublishing.com/jcn

Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world's leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit www.wileyblackwell.com or www.interscience.wiley.com

Annette Whibley | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.virgin.net
http://www.wileyblackwell.com
http://www.interscience.wiley.com

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>