Hospitals attempt to quiet down

In an effort to reduce patient stress, reduce recovery time, and improve patient satisfaction, hospitals are attempting to create quieter environments for their patients. 

According to Press Ganey, hospitals that have poor control of noise also tend to have lower overall satisfaction with care, while hospitals who do well in controlling noise tend to have higher levels of patient satisfaction overall.

Designing hospitals to reduce noise can cost more in the short run, but architects say there are potential long-term cost savings.  For example, installing rubber floors can cost significantly more to install than vinyl tiles, however, it could actually save money over a 15-year period, as rubber floors cost less to clean.

Other tactics that hospitals are using to reduce noise include:

  • Moving doors of patient rooms so they aren't directly across the hall from each other, which reduces sound travel between rooms.
  • Installing walls and doors that reach up to the ceiling in Emergency Rooms.
  • Using wireless devices to allow lab technicians and others to reach doctors without using the overhead paging system.
  • A Quiet Please campaign, which includes traffic lights on some floors that show how loud or quiet hallways are.

(Sources: Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisoryboard.com, March 25, 2010; Tennesean, http://tennesean.com, March 21, 2010)