Cambro made history with its first foodservice product in 1951—the Camtray. While the Camtray is now widely known, many may not know the Camtray was invented with the goal of making a hospital meal tray of the highest quality possible to replace noisy metal trays. Since then, many innovative changes have taken place in healthcare but little has been done to reduce the noise level from monitors and pagers, wheelchairs and carts in the hallways that affect patient sleep quality, making it one of the most frequent complaints of hospital stays.
In recent years however, many hospitals are acknowledging the negative impact of noise on their patients through the transparency of patient satisfaction scores. In fact, the focus on patient satisfaction is so great these days that some hospitals have expanded their effort by installing acoustic sound panels between walls.
While it’s impossible to completely shut down noise, there are ways to minimize the distractions to improve the sleep quality of your patients—by implementing programs that promote a culture of quiet.
13 Tips for Quiet Hours
Develop a “Quiet Hours” guideline for employees, patients and visitors to follow during certain hours of the day—ideally in the afternoon and night time. These guidelines can be reinforced during employee training and should promote the importance of a quiet environment for a faster healing process for patients. Create signs and posters to encourage patients and visitors to adapt the same culture and behavior.
- Providing complimentary earplug and headphones for patients and visitors.
- Establishing quiet hours in all inpatient areas and keeping hallway conversations (including cell phone), to a minimum, especially at night.
- Encouraging patients and employees to turn down the volume on cell phones, televisions, radios, pagers and other devices.
- Employees setting pagers on vibrate when possible.
- Dimming lights in patient rooms and unit hallways as well as closing doors quietly.
- Coordinating care in order to reduce unnecessary entry into patient rooms during quiet hours.
- Reminding staff to use quiet voices and behaviors in the patient care setting.
- Providing a “white noise” TV channel in all patient rooms.
- Wearing soft soled shoes to minimize hallway noise outside patient rooms.
- Scheduling floor cleaning times that don’t conflict with nighttime resting hours.
- Adding testing meters that indicate sound levels in patient rooms.
- Replacing noisier service carts with more durable and quieter models.
- Checking doors and other items and repairing when needed to eliminate unnecessary noise.
The power of patient satisfaction scores is motivating many hospitals to address matters that previously were perceived as less significant. However, a series of less significant matters can collectively grow to become important.