Nursing Research Utilization Project Proposal: Hospital Noise
The level of noise in a hospital is a serious issue for the nurses and the patients. Surveys have been created in an effort to determine if the noise is bothersome, what kinds of problems it causes, and whether there is anything that can be done about the noise levels. It is important not only to identify the problem, but to determine what can be done so that the problem is mitigated as much as possible. Here, the problem of noise in the hospital is discussed, and from that point the issue of how to address and correct it is brought into play. There are many ways in which noise in a hospital can be reduced, including better and heavier screens for patient privacy, signs and warnings for people to keep quiet, machines that alert in other ways as opposed to noise, and equipment adjustments that allow for less noise when being moved from place to place.
Because there are so many suggestions for noise reduction in the hospital, nurses have plenty of options they can consider when they want to make changes or work with doctors, administration, and staff in order to have a quieter environment. Additional information to be considered relates to cost. Some options for noise reduction cost much less than others, of course, and when a hospital wants to make changes and keep things quieter it may not have much money to spend in order to get the desired results. Because that is the case, hospitals must carefully consider all the options made available to them and determine if they can get grants or other help in order to take care of noise issues. When hospitals focus on the patients instead of other issues such as the bottom line, they are much more likely to provide those patients with a higher level of care and focus on how to help patients get through their hospital stay and lead better lives once they are discharged.
Nursing Research Utilization Project Proposal: Noise in Hospitals
The Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) partnered together in developing a comprehensive survey for "Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers" known as "HCAHPS." The purpose of the survey is to collect patients' reports and perspectives that were developed while they were in the hospital. The public is encouraged to express their feelings and concerns about hospitals and to rate their hospital experience in this way. One of the specific questions that was asked on the survey was about noise. National healthcare quality surveys have found that noise in hospitals is an urgent concern. Noise level is among the physical environment factors that influence the "healing environment" of any healthcare setting (Reiling, Huges, & Murphy, 2008).
Not all patients have trouble with the level of noise that is involved with their hospital stay, but enough patients struggle with it to indicate that there is an issue for a significant percentage of patients. Because more than one survey has shown a correlation between quieter hospital stays and a better chance of faster healing. That is worth looking into, since it is much better for a patient to have a good hospital stay that is as short as possible. If the level of noise in the hospital can affect that and the patient who has a quieter environment heals faster and is able to leave sooner, it would stand to reason that hospitals, patients, and even insurance companies would be very interested in finding ways to provide quieter environments in any and all types of hospital settings.
Each and every hospital has a different way to handle things when it comes to patient complaints about noise or anything else. For the hospital that wants to do something about the issue of noise and really wants to make sure that their patients are treated properly and are comfortable during their stay, there are plenty of options. The idea of taking a survey of patients and how they feel about their stay is one of the best ways for any hospital to get true and accurate answers about areas in which they need to improve. That can help the patients, of course, but it also helps the hospital to make sure it is handling things as well as possible.
Even if a hospital is focused on making money, as is the case with many hospitals because they have to have funds in order to remain open, a hospital should also care about the patients who come through its doors. When a hospital focuses on the people and not on the money, everything else will fall into place for it. That is good news for all involved, but it can only be done if the hospital takes the time to make sure that it hears the needs of its patients.
To that end, this paper is designed to explore the problem of excessive noise in a hospital setting, most specifically in the cardiac care unit. By determining the noise level and whether that noise level is detrimental to patients, the hospital can decide how it wants to make changes and what it needs to do in order to improve patient outcomes. Not all patients are bothered by noise, but it is an issue for many people in the hospital.
The problem is focused on only one hospital as a study example. The Coronary Care Unit of North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, New York is a 12-bed unit that has seen a 20% increase in hospital complaints about the noise level over the last three quarters of the year. This is, clearly, an issue for that hospital and something that has become more of a problem than it was in the past. From the baseline number of complaints that are generally received in that unit, the rise in complaints - and a subsequent drop in complaints once measures are taken to reduce noise - can be measured. In order to keep patients comfortable and perhaps actually improve their health and outcomes, lowering the number of complaints will be necessary and will be focus of the hospital.
The Coronary Care Unit of North Shore University Hospital will implement a noise reduction protocol that will include the following evidence based (EB) elements: a. A reduction of equipment and machinery noise level, b. A reduction in the volume of staff conversations, c. A reduction of construction, trash pickup, traffic, and other exterior noises, and d. A reduction of overall hospital sounds such as food carts, other patients, and any extraneous noise not covered by a, b, and c. It is necessary to measure the noise levels of these specific areas and then to measure the noise levels once plans to reduce the noise have been implemented. That will help to provide solid feedback as to whether the noise reduction plans have been appropriate or whether other changes still need to be made.
Evidence from past studies shows that there are several areas of noise that can be reduced in a hospital (Xie, Kang, and Mills, 2009). This is important, because it gives a hospital many areas on which to focus. Not all hospitals have noise issues in all of the areas mentioned, but a hospital with even one area of noise has an area on which it can work. When these noises are reduced or eliminated as much as possible, patients heal faster, feel better, complain less, and generally get released earlier than patients who must deal with constant noise and aggravation (Xie, Kang, and Mills, 2009).
In order to make sure patients have the best chance at recovery, the hospital noise level should be kept to a minimum to allow for peace and healing - and that is especially true in cardiac patients who are often recovering from surgery or any serious medical event (Xie, Kang, and Mills, 2009). Too much noise can slow healing and raise heart rate and blood pressure. Those are all issues that should be avoided in cardiac patients, and if noise is a contributing factor to those issues the hospital must work to reduce that noise.
Project Objective and Goal
The Critical Coronary Care Unit of North Shore Hospital has launched a project to reduce the noise level in the unit, which will be measured by at least a 20% reduction in complaints marked on patients' surveys by July 1, 2013. This will compensate for the 20% increase that was seen on past surveys and will return the hospital to its baseline. From that point, the hospital can work on getting complaints lowered even further. Any changes implemented will be tracked by surveys given to patients so the value of the changes that are made can be better determined. Without success in these plans, the hospital will have to change the plans and determine what to try as an…