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Nurses urged to keep noise down in new sleep campaign

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Hospital staff and patients have been asked to dim the lighting and keep noise to a minimum as part of a new sleep campaign.

South Tees Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new initiative to help create a peaceful atmosphere on wards at night.

“Our patients are often very poorly and in need of a good night’s rest”

Nicola Herraghty

The Sleep Helps Healing campaign urges nursing and healthcare staff, as well as patients, to be mindful of noise levels and dim the lights between the hours of 11pm and 6am.

Wards at The James Cook University Hospital, Friarage Hospital, Redcar Primary Care Hospital, East Cleveland Primary Care Hospital and the Friary Community Hospital have all signed up to the scheme.

The hospitals have guidance for both staff and patients displayed on their wards detailing ways of reducing noise levels and encouraging sleep in hospitals.

This includes being mindful of speaking volume, closing bins quietly and dimming the lights by 11pm.

Among the guidance, hospital staff are asked to wear soft-soled shoes, to be prompt when answering the nurse call bell, and to consider extra support for highly agitated and confused patients.

Ensuring ward phones are answered efficiently, encouraging patients to report any noise issue, and using equipment quietly are also part of the staff guidance.

The move follows feedback from the trust’s “1,000 Voices” patient survey which identified noise at night as the main area that could be improved to help make a patient’s hospital stay more comfortable.

Karen Harwood, Friarage Hospital matron, said: “We carefully considered all the patient feedback we received, and we hope this new campaign will help encourage everyone to keep noise levels to a minimum after 11pm.

“We are reminding staff to consider everything from answering ward telephones quickly, to wearing soft soled shoes and ensuring all equipment is easily accessible and in good working order.

“Patients can do their bit as well by turning off TVs, radios and mobiles after 11pm or using headphones or switching devices to silent,” she added.

“We hope this new campaign will help encourage everyone to keep noise levels to a minimum”

Karen Harwood

Nicola Herraghty, one of the matrons at The James Cook University Hospital, said patients who may be struggling to sleep were encouraged to let the nursing staff know as they may be able to help.

“Our patients are often very poorly and in need of a good night’s rest, so we want to do as much as we possibly can to create a relaxing environment without any unnecessary disturbances,” she added. “After all sleep helps healing.”

News of the campaign comes soon after a research report from King’s College London and University of Arts London claimed noise pollution in UK hospitals is regularly exceeding international recommendations.

As reported previously by Nursing Times, the report found noise pollution impacted patients’ ability to rest, heal and recover.

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