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Shhh! We’ve Shushed Up to Improve the Patient Experience

Dinging alarms. Loud conversations. Clanging wheels. Hospitals may be great places to get treatment, but now noisier than ever, they’re not very good places for patients to rest, let alone sleep.

The World Health Organization set the optimal standard decibel level at 40 or less, but the average hospital operates at 72 decibels during the day and 60 decibels at night.

What we know: excessive noise disrupts sleep, raises heart rates and blood pressure, can contribute to medical mistakes and even result in “alarm fatigue,” where caregivers or patients ignore or even turn off equipment that alarms excessively.

What we’ve done: the Patient Experience Council, and specifically the Cleanliness and Quiet

Committee, have taken action to reduce noise at EIRMC, including launching a Shhh campaign to remind ourselves and our visitors to keep it down.

Other noise-reducing measures:

  • Saved overhead paging for codes and doctors only. Instead, we’ve focused on Vocera, phones, and pagers for staff.
  • Implemented a “lights down” practice at nighttime, to visually remind everyone that it’s time for patients to sleep.
  • Replaced noisy wheels on equipment and carts.
  • Purchased quieter floor scrubbers.



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