Nav: Home

Sound level around seriously ill patients 'like a busy road'

September 17, 2012

Seriously ill patients in intensive care units are being cared for in environments with sound levels more than 20 dB higher than the WHO's recommendations. This is shown by a study carried out in partnership between the University of Gothenburg and the University of Borås.

In the study, the researchers registered sound levels around 13 seriously ill patients cared for in the intensive care unit at Södra Älvsborg Hospital over a 24-hour period. The study shows that the sound levels around seriously ill patients were on average between 51 and 55 dB. This is comparable with a busy road.

For the greater part of the 24 hours, between 70 and 90 per cent of the time, the sound level was above 55 dB - in addition, there were a number of short sound bursts above 100 dB.

When the patients were interviewed about their experiences of the surrounding sounds, they recalled both positive and negative experiences. Positive experiences included, for example, the sound of the staff talking quietly between themselves or providing information on ongoing treatment.

"Sounds perceived as frightening were uncontrollable sounds from, for example, alarms, and sounds from seriously ill fellow patients, and treatments and examinations. One patient also described how the sounds around him had entered into his dreams and hallucinations,"says Lotta Johansson, researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy, who led the study.

The sound levels found by the study are slightly lower than those measured by previous studies, but still significantly higher than the 30 dB recommended by the WHO for patient rooms in hospitals.

"The interesting thing is that what the patients considered most disturbing was unknown and uncontrollable sounds rather than the generally high sound level. This shows that we must take further measures to create healing care environments with better conditions for sleep and recovery for seriously ill patients," explains Lotta Johansson.

The study "The sound environment in an ICU patient room - A content analysis of sound levels and patient experiences" was published in the journal Intensive and Critical Care Nursing. It is a preliminary study for a larger project in which the researchers will study in more depth and from a longer perspective how the physical environment affects seriously ill patients.
-end-
Contact:

Lotta Johansson, Institute of Health and Care Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
+46 (0)31 786 6108
+46 (0)70 8199664
lotta.johansson@fhs.gu.se

Berit Lindahl, Associate Professor at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg and senior lecturer at the School of Health Sciences, University of Borås
+46 (0)33 435 4739
berit.lindahl@hb.se

University of Gothenburg

Related Intensive Care Units Articles:

Delirium in critically ill children admitted to intensive care units common and widespread
One out of every four children admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) for critical illness develops delirium, according to an international study led by Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian investigators.
Continuous pain is often not assessed during neonatal intensive care
In an analysis of 243 neonatal intensive care units from 18 European countries, investigators found that only 2113 of 6648 (31.8 percent) newborns were assessed for prolonged, continuous pain.
Great differences in the view of withdrawing futile intensive care
The views among physicians and the general public when it comes to deciding whether to withhold or withdraw treatment of terminally ill patients differ greatly.
Primary care physician involvement at end of life associated with less costly, less intensive care
A new study published in the January/February issue of Annals of Family Medicine finds that primary care physician involvement at the end of life is associated with less costly and less intensive end-of-life care.
UNC cardiologist examines training, staffing, research in cardiac intensive care
Jason Katz, M.D., M.H.S., associate professor of medicine at UNC School of Medicine and medical director of the cardiac intensive care unit, was the lead author of a recently published manuscript in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that examined the early growth and maturation of critical care cardiology, and the challenges and uncertainties that threaten to stymie the growth of this fledgling discipline.
New hope for shock patients in intensive care
Care for critically-ill patients with shock could be improved, it is hoped, after the first successful testing by University of Oxford scientists of a new machine to record oxygen consumption in real time.
Certain red flags indicate an increased need for intensive care among patients with asthma
In patients admitted to the hospital for asthma, illicit drug use and low socioeconomic status were linked with an increased risk of requiring admission to the intensive care unit.
Quiet please in the intensive care unit!
A study presented at Euroanaesthesia 2016 shows that noise levels in the Intensive Care Unit can go well above recommended levels, disturbing both patients and the medical teams that care for them.
Physicians are more likely to use hospice and intensive care at end of life
New research suggests that US physicians are more likely to use hospice and intensive or critical care units in the last months of life than non-physicians.
Cannabis use in pregnancy linked to low birthweight and intensive care
Use of cannabis during pregnancy is linked to low birthweight and the need for intensive care, reveals an analysis of the available evidence, published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Related Intensive Care Units Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Moving Forward
When the life you've built slips out of your grasp, you're often told it's best to move on. But is that true? Instead of forgetting the past, TED speakers describe how we can move forward with it. Guests include writers Nora McInerny and Suleika Jaouad, and human rights advocate Lindy Lou Isonhood.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...