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'Beeping is hindering patient recovery'

Posted by:

2 November, 2012

A recent US study has revealed that overnight noise levels in intensive care units often exceed levels recommended by the World Health Organization. The assumptions seems to be that if patients are asleep, sedated and even unconscious they won’t be affected by the beeping and noises of machines.

However the researchers concluded that sleep disruption was prevalent and could impact on levels of delirium and negatively impact on immune dysfunction, as well as potentially adversely affect outcomes.

It can seem old fashioned in this world of high-tech health care to remember how important rest and sleep are to recovery. Sometimes malfunctioning equipment keeps beeping and being reset without anyone thinking of how it is affecting the patients. And when working at night, it is too easy to forget that others need to rest when the night has become your day.

We all know what it is like to be woken up by a car or house alarm at night and how this affects your performance the next day, giving us some insight into how patients feel about the constant beeping and alarms on hospital wards.

Readers' comments (5)

  • If a piece of equipment persistently alarms for no apparent reason it should be removed from service.

    The noise of modern equipment is not great and I hate to think what is going on in places where it is claimed that noise levels exceed WHO recommendations.

    Does not "sound" anything like any place I have worked!

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  • mobile phones annoy patients too,as do patients who turn the bedside tv on full blast, claiming they are too deaf to use headphones.
    Our monitor alarms go off when a patient becomes unstable, that is the idea of the alarm, not much use if it didn't alert us.

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  • Patients are allowed to sleep any part of the day they wish!

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  • On the other hand beeping can detract from the patient experience ( as my trust now calls a period of illness in hospital)

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  • rp12 - a 'period of illness', as opposed to a 'period of wellness', I like that.

    I am certainly not immune to the constant noise on the ward, it's stressful and horrendous at times.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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