Hospital Noise Pollution a Growing Problem
One of the largest complaints of hospital patients and staff nationwide is the abundance of noise in the hospital. Uncomfortable and unsafe noise levels inhibit the healing process of patients that need it most.
In fact a recent study at Johns Hopkins University Hospital has shown that loud hospital environments can have a major negative impact on patients including:
- Elevated blood pressure levels.
- Sleep disruption.
- Decreased oxygen saturation.
- Decreased rates of wound healing.
The consequences of a loud environment on staff include emotional exhaustion and burnout as well as a raised risk of medical errors due to miscommunication. Recently, a patient at Massachusetts General Hospital died because his heart monitor had been turned off by a staff member. The investigators cited “alarm fatigue” as a cause of the problem. Alarm fatigue occurs when nurses become overwhelmed by the number and variety of alarms in the healthcare environment. As a result, nurses begin ignoring or even turning off alarms.
A Mayo Clinic study performed several years ago showed peak noise levels at night in one facility rising to 113 decibels, equivalent to a chainsaw or jackhammer.
Major sources of noise include hospital ventilation systems as well as overuse of the hospital paging system and an abundance of alarms. The Johns Hopkins study noted that though audible alarms were significantly quieter than other sources of noise, patients ranked them as being more irritating than more intense sources.
New Technology as a Solution to Hospital Noise Pollution
Dalcon provides solutions that, as a secondary benefit, help eliminate hospital noise pollution.
Dalcon Alert for Remote Patient Monitoring connects with various patient monitoring devices such as heart monitors, IV pumps, ventilators, pulse oximeters, and more. When a patient monitoring device triggers an alarm connected to Dalcon Alert, the system sends a text message to wireless phones (or pagers) held by hospital staff.
Because Dalcon Alert allows hospital staff to more efficiently manage hospital alarms, alarm fatigue is significantly reduced. Also, since Dalcon Alert incorporates wireless phones or pagers to be carried by hospital staff, use of the overhead pager can be dramatically decreased as well.
Posted on 05/20/2010 9:13 AM by ecline