Community Hospital institutes daily quiet hours
TORRINGTON, Wyo. (Oct. 18, 2011) – Beginning Nov. 1, 2011, Banner Community Hospital in Torrington will institute quiet hours from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. daily. During this time the main hallway through the hospital will be closed to through traffic, and activities related to care will be minimized to allow a critical period of rest for patients.
Studies show that excess noise in a hospital deprives patients of the rest they need to heal and recover. Noise that deprives patients of sleep can:
- Prolong patients’ hospitalization
- Decrease and slow the process of recovery
- Produce insomnia after patients are discharged
- Interrupt normal sleep patterns for up to six months following hospitalization.
“We know that patients recover best in a quiet environment,” said Vincent DiFranco, chief executive officer for Community Hospital. “The hospital is a busy place and can be very noisy. We do our best to keep noise levels at a minimum, but this new initiative takes it a step further with the implementation of specific quiet hours every afternoon.
“This is an initiative shared by the entire facility,” DiFranco said. “Every department is looking at ways to decrease the noise level all the time, and bring it to a minimum during daily quiet hours.”
For instance, the pharmacists will provide medications to patients at different times to avoid quiet hours, radiology, lab and physical therapy will avoid visiting patients during quiet hours, and environmental services and food services will minimize activity during that time.
“Patients in private rooms will be able to receive visitors if they desire, but we will ask all visitors and staff to keep voices low, answer phones quickly and be mindful of any noise they create,” DiFranco said.
A study conducted by nursing staff at the Mayo Clinic in 2004 showed that sudden noises, such s a dropped tray or slammed door, may cause a “startle reflex” in patients, resulting in physiological responses such as:
- Facial grimacing
- Muscular flexion
- Increased blood pressure
- Higher respiratory rate
- Increased heart rate
- Altered memory
- Increased agitation
- Less tolerance for pain