HCA Midwest Health - May 11, 2017

Why are hospitals so noisy?

Hospitals are busy places, filled both with people working 24/7 and patients who need to rest while they might be in pain or frightened.

At HCA Midwest Health, our efforts to keep it down are as quiet as we’d like our hospitals to be. Many of these efforts are subtle and effective in ways you would not realize.

Our major effort involves our nurses, but you probably know that if you have been our patient. Our nurses do hourly rounding with their patients. Every hour, they are in the room to check on their patients: Do they need anything, like something for pain or sleep, or to use the restroom? Is the room clean? With this proactive approach, nurses know what is going on and patients don’t have to call nurses as often. This helps keep noise and traffic on the floor to a minimum.

Another initiative that patients love is that our nurses hand off their patients to the next shift nurse right at the bedside. The new nurse hears everything right there, so he or she knows what is going on and, again, the patient has fewer reasons to call. So your nurse is visiting you a lot, but you may not even notice when you are asleep.

Other changes are so quiet you don’t even know about them. Our hospitals monitor the sound levels at our nurses’ stations in a variety of ways. For example, some of our hospitals use a red/yellow/green system for rising noise levels. If noise reaches a yellow level, staff is alerted. If it gets to red, there’s an audible alarm (for staff, not patients) so everyone can work to quiet things down. In addition, in our ERs we have staff using handheld devices with headsets to decrease overhead paging noise and be more efficient at responding to patient needs.

Our job is to help you heal and we do our best to make our hospitals a place where you can heal in peace.