June 23, 2009

Hospital looks to cut noise

A California hospital is trying to cut back on noise, especially at night when patients sometimes complain the decibel level is high enough to keep them awake.

At Stanford Hospital, a noise reduction team surveyed the hospital, equipped with meters, the San Jose Mercury News reported Tuesday. They focused on especially noisy parts of the hospital.

They discovered the noisiest part of the day is between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. That is when patients are getting breakfast and doctors are doing morning rounds.

But patients complained the most about night noise.

Getting a good night's sleep is part of getting better, said Chuck Pitkofsky, a nurse on the noise-reduction team.

The team said some noise cannot be eliminated. No one wants a discrete heart monitor.

But others could be eliminated at little expense, such as adjusting closet and cupboard doors so they do not slam and advising staff members to keep conversations low or take them behind a closed door.