Nurses in the UK recently voiced their concern that hospitals need to do more to ensure patients get a good night’s sleep. According to delegates at the Royal College of Nursing conference in Liverpool, a combination of badly-run wards and carelessness are preventing patients from sleeping soundly whilst in hospital.
In light of the nurses’ derision of the high levels of noise on hospital wards throughout the UK, we ask: ‘what can be done to help patients get a good night’s sleep?’.
Put an end to ‘unnecessary disturbances’
The nurses have called for hospitals to put an end to patients being moved at night, which they deemed as creating “unnecessary disturbances.” Other preventable disruptions that are hampering patients’ sleep in hospitals are, according to the nurses, staff talking amongst themselves, alarms going off, telephones ringing out and squeaky shoes rubbing against the floors of wards.
Debbie Simmonds, a hospital nurse in Suffolk told the BBC: “It is important we look at ways to reduce noise.”
“Sleep is a basic human need and is fundamental to good mental and physical health. Our hospitals are getting busier and patients are more poorly.”
Maura Buchanan was also present at the Royal College of Nursing conference. Ms Buchanan pins the blame on badly-managed wards, giving examples of patients being discharged during the night and transferred to other wards.
With multiple patients sleeping in the same room and nurses and other ward staff working through the night it would be impossible to completely eradicate noise from hospital wards during the night.
Making simple moves like switching phones and alarms onto vibrate would be likely to make a difference, as nurse Debbie Simmonds acknowledged.
Several studies in the last decade have proven that as intensive care units (ICU) are busy and noisy environments, sleep disruption amongst patients is common. Certain studies have even shown that the noise levels at night in some ICUs can peak over 80 decibels.
Research conducted in a simulated intensive care unit revealed that wearing ear plus helped patients sleep more soundly.
Noise-activated warning signs
In order to help keep noise levels in hospitals down it may also prove invaluable for hospital staff to use noise level meters such as wall mounted noise-activated warning signs.
Devices like the PulsarSafeEar are an invaluable method to warn workers operating in workshops, factories, pub and nightclubs, when noise levels become too high and when hearing protection should be worn.
PulsarSafeEar can also be set to trigger at lower levels of noise such as 30dB (decibels) and therefore can be utilised in quieter environments, such as hospitals, classrooms and libraries. This innovative device will flash a visual warning when noise levels must be kept down to ensure quiet environments are kept as they should be – quiet.
As such, the PulsarSafeEar could be a vital aid in enabling nurses working on wards through the night to ensure noise levels are kept at a minimum and, most importantly, helping patients get a good night’s sleep.
To find out more about the innovative PulsarSafeEar, visit our website dedicated to the instrument here.