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Hampshire hospital nurses launch bid to cut night noise

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Nursing staff in Southampton have signed up to a “noise at night” pledge to try and ensure hospital patients get a better night’s sleep.

The move is part of a wider campaign to reduce noise at the organisation, after the latest NHS inpatient survey found many patients staying at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust reported being disturbed in the night.

“What are thought of as minor issues can really affect a patient’s experience of their time in hospital and a lack of sleep can be very distressing”

Juliet Cox

Thirty-seven per cent said they had been disturbed by noise made by other patients while 22% said they had been kept awake or woken by noise made by staff.

In an effort to tackle the problem, nursing teams at Southampton General and the Princess Anne hospitals have signed a “noise at night” pledge, which sets out standards for clinical practice and simple measures to reduce disturbance.

These include keeping voices down when talking to patients or colleagues, reducing night-time bed moves via better planning and ensuring patients know ear plugs and eye masks are available.

Staff have also been told they should dim overhead lights and use pen torches when possible, as well as encouraging patients to turn off TVs or use headphones.

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Southampton General Hospital

Alongside the pledge, nurses have developed a booklet for patients on steps being taken to reduce noise, things they can do to help and relaxation techniques to help them unwind and get to sleep.

Juliet Cox, the trust’s head of patient experience, said helping to ensure patients could get a good night’s sleep was an important part of providing good quality care.

“It is often the case that what are thought of as minor issues can really affect a patient’s experience of their time in hospital and a lack of sleep can be very distressing,” she said.

“We hope that by taking these simple steps to alert both staff and patients to the problems and solutions we will be able to help patients rest well when they need it most,” she added.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • A commendable initiative. Sleep deprivation is a commonly-cited problem amongst inpatients with physical and psychological ill-effects noted. Improved sleep could make a significant difference to recovery.

    Much of the steps to reducing night disturbance are simple and common-sense. I've done my fair share of night nursing and offer the following:

    Soft-light pen torches, not LED torches

    Aprons are surprisingly noisy. Don't wear them unless you need to. When you do, consider microporing the bottom corners to your trousers to minimise rustling.

    Consider your footwear. I've worked with people who's footsteps could wake the dead.

    Think about communicating with patients who are hard of hear, rather than just shouting at them.

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  • When you work on a busy surgical ward ,can be be difficult to control noise at night ,you got patients being transferred ,theatre ,X-ray machines,patients being very ill.no beds in hdu ,confused medical outliers,these people who think of these things come and work on night shift and see what it s like ,you also got alarms going off all over the place from infusion devices ,post op observations ,etc doctors ,relatives ,visitors have opening visiting in our hospital,call bells going off all the time,patients being moved constantly due to being no beds for admissions,ear plugs ? they got no idea

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