Beginning Jan. 23, Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital (SNLH) will be a more soothing and restful place for patients, with the start of hospital-wide quiet times from 2 to 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Quiet times are just one of the new interventions in the hospital’s initiative known as HUSH: Help Us Support Healing.
“Research shows that loss of sleep can weaken one’s immunity, lower pain tolerance and increase the length of stay in the hospital,” said Theresa Via, director of SNLH Quality Resources. “So, we formed a multidisciplinary committee and conducted a staff survey. This helped us to identify where our noise problems exist and how we can reduce or eliminate them. Then, the group came up with several easy fixes for keeping noise down.”
Creating a calm and healing environment throughout the hospital will be a team effort, she added, which is why visitors and patients, as well as employees, are being asked to respect quiet times and the other HUSH initiatives.
Signs at hospital entrances will remind visitors and employees about the quiet times. During quiet times, lights will be dimmed and patient room doors will be closed, when safe and appropriate. Staff and visitors will be asked to silence their cell phones and pagers and to keep conversations quiet. Activities, such as stocking and cleaning, will be discouraged around patient rooms during quiet times, except when absolutely necessary.
Patients are being told about the HUSH program and provided with sleep kits to assist with rest. The kits include ear plugs, eye mask and a door hanger that reminds, “Voices down please.” Patients will be asked their preference about lights and doors, and will be provided with earbuds for listening to television or relaxing music. Pain assessments and interventions and snacks or soothing beverages will be offered, as appropriate.
Via said the top three noise factors in a hospital are overhead paging, equipment alarms and hallway discussions. Already, efforts are underway to lessen the impact of these factors.
As of Jan. 1, all overhead paging in the hospital has been eliminated except for emergencies. Staff already is being reminded to keep conversations quiet and respectful at all times, and to minimize any unnecessary discussion in and around patient rooms. Staff has been encouraged to report any excessive noise being created by machinery, equipment, doors and so forth.
For more information about HUSH, call Via at 541-557-6406 or listen to KBCH-AM 1400 on Thursday, Jan. 19. Cassandra Nair, RN, manager of the hospital’s medical/surgical unit, will be a guest during the 30-minute Samaritan Health Report which airs every Thursday from 9:30 to 10 a.m.