Navigation Links
Noisy Wards Could Threaten Hospital Patients' Health
Date:6/12/2012

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- A new study suggests that sleep doesn't come easy for many hospitalized patients, with everything from ice machines to traffic to hallway talkers keeping them awake.

The finding, from a small study of 12 healthy people exposed to typical hospital noises, should sound an alarm about the effects of noise on patients' health.

"Everyone knows that sound disrupts sleep, but in a hospital setting this is a really big problem," said study lead author Orfeu Buxton, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, as well as an associate neuroscientist in the division of sleep medicine in the department of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

"There are noises that are happening all around patients . . . all the time, each of which, one after the other, is disrupting their sleep," he said. "IV pumps, alarms, phones, the voices of the staff on duty. And exposure to all of this -- even at the level of a whisper -- can actually accelerate a patient's heart rate by four or 10 beats a minute."

All of that can trouble sleep "and cause the kind of enormous patient disruption that can really compromise a patient's recovery process," Buxton said.

The findings are published online June 12 and in the June 19 print issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

According to the researchers, hospital patients queried in recent surveys often cited noise as a major factor negatively affecting their quality of care.

But what types of noise matter most? To find out, Buxton's team had a dozen healthy, young men and women spend three nights in a sleep laboratory.

After one night of normal sleep without exposure to noise recordings, all of the participants were then asked to try to sleep while being exposed to recordings of typical hospital sounds. "Internal" noise included gurneys moving down hallways, ice machines, staff conversations, IV drip alarms and phone calls. "External" noises included street traffic and helicopter passings.

Throughout, the participants' sleep patterns and heart rates were monitored. Predictably, as noise levels went up so did sleep disruption.

Not all noise was equally disturbing, however. The beeps and blips of medical equipment electronics, for example, were found to be more disruptive than people talking or the noise of traffic.

Nevertheless, even a momentary noise disturbance was associated with a bump in heart rate, the team found. This was true while participants were in deep sleep, but it was most problematic when they were in the lightest stage of sleep (so-called REM sleep).

The findings were sadly familiar to one expert.

"Certainly, sleep deprivation and disruption is very common in the ICU [intensive care unit], where I practice most of my medicine," said Dr. Gulshan Sharma, director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He agreed with the study's list of noise-makers, and said that "all of this contributes to sleep fragmentation and a lack of deep sleep [for patients]."

Buxton's team noted that the typical hospitalized patient is usually older than those in the study group, and therefore likely to be subject to other non-noise issues that can also affect sleep quality. The issue is real and serious, given that sleep disturbance can prompt or exacerbate a number of serious health issues, including a rise in blood pressure and stress hormones or a dip in immune function and mental health.

Lowering the noise level on wards "would decrease patient stays and improve healing, and perhaps even reduce readmission rates," Buxton said, and hospitals do have means of doing so.

"Checking vital signs and delivering medicine, for example, can be delivered at the same time to reduce noise disturbance for patients," he said. "Night workers can be instructed not to speak at full day volume during their shift, because patients are sleeping. Alarms can be going to a central monitoring place, because the intention is, in the first place, to direct them to the staff and not at the patients. And there's no reason that the phone in the patient's room should go off at 2 in the morning. That call can definitely wait. Basically, all things we take for granted at home should be the standard in a hospital setting as well," Buxton explained.

Sharma agreed, especially with regard to centralizing various medical alarms away from the patient. "Using better technology, perhaps that is possible," he said. "That's probably where I think the field will be going."

"If the hospital is a place to heal then it needs to be a quieter environment," Buxton added. "We're talking about non-trauma places in a hospital where it would be possible, with some behavior changes by staff as well as in the layout and design of the space, to make the overall environment quieter. It's certainly a fixable situation."

More information

There's more on sleep's links to health at Harvard University.

SOURCES: Orfeu M. Buxton, Ph.D., assistant professor, Harvard Medical School, and associate neuroscientist, division of sleep medicine, department of medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston; Gulshan Sharma, M.D., M.P.H., director, Medical Intensive Care Unit, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; June 12, 2012, Annals of Internal Medicine, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Outstanding high school students receive awards to stimulate research interest in digestive diseases
2. US Army internal medicine residents receive awards from American College of Physicians
3. AGA announces prestigious awards recognition recipients
4. Lawson researcher receives 1 of first-ever Pfizer Psychiatry Research Awards
5. Biomedical researchers receive Hartwell Foundation awards
6. Awards to 5 IU School of Medicine physicians address critical need for geriatricians
7. Presidential Recognition Awards presented during the 2012 AIUM Annual Convention
8. Awards celebrate clinical research that can improve health and alleviate suffering
9. Washingtons Life Sciences Discovery Fund awards commercialization grants
10. AFAR announces the 2012 Hartford Centers of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine awards
11. NIH awards $20 million over 5 years to train next generation of global health researchers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Noisy Wards Could Threaten Hospital Patients' Health
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due to a possible lice infestation, as reported by ... lice: the parasite’s ability to live away from a human host, and to infest common ... the event that lice have simply gotten out of control. , As lice are a ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, ... at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health ... annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out ... family verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers ... would throw rocks at my other children and say he was going to kill them. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and MyPainAway Pain Relief Products, join The ‘Business for ... $12 an hour by 2020 and then adjusting it yearly to increase at the same ... wage, assure the wage floor does not erode again, and make future increases more predictable. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... is actively feeding the Frederick area economy by obtaining investment capital for emerging ... the past 2½ years that have already resulted in more than a million ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  MedSource announced today ... its e-clinical software solution of choice.  This latest ... possible value to their clients by offering a ... preferred relationship establishes nowEDC as the EDC platform ... MedSource,s full-service clients.  "nowEDC has long been a ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) ... Elecsys BRAHMS PCT (procalcitonin) assay as a dedicated testing ... With this clearance, Roche is the first IVD company ... for sepsis risk assessment and management. PCT ... PCT levels in blood can aid clinicians in assessing ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , , , WHEN: , , ... , , , LOCATION: , , , Online, with free registration ... PANELISTS:  , , , Frost & Sullivan,s Global Vice President of ... Analyst, Divyaa Ravishankar and Unmesh Lal, Program Manager , ... witnessing an exceptional era. Several new demand spaces, such as innovative ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: