Comparison of staff and family perceptions of causes of noise pollution in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and suggested intervention strategies

Article English OPEN
Harsheen Kaur ; Gina M Rohlik ; Michael E Nemergut ; Sandeep Tripathi (2016)
  • Publisher: Wolters Kluwer Medknow Publications
  • Journal: Noise and Health, volume 18, issue 81, pages 78-84 (issn: 1463-1741, eissn: 1998-4030)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.4103/1463-1741.178480, pmc: PMC4918686
  • Subject: sound reduction interventions | Original Article | Industrial medicine. Industrial hygiene | RF1-547 | survey | Intensive Care Unit | Intensive Care Unit staff and families | Intensive Care Unit, Intensive Care Unit staff and families, sound reduction interventions, survey | Otorhinolaryngology | RC963-969

Noise and excessive, unwanted sound in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is common and has a major impact on patients’ sleep and recovery. Previous research has focused mostly on absolute noise levels or included only staff as respondents to acknowledge the causes of noise and to plan for its reduction. Thus far, the suggested interventions have not ameliorated noise, and it continues to serve as a barrier to recovery. In addition to surveying PICU providers through internet-based software, patients’ families were evaluated through in-person interviews utilizing a pretested instrument over 3 months. Families of patients admitted for more than 24 h were considered eligible for evaluation. Participants were asked to rank causes of noise from 1 to 8, with eight being highest, and identified potential interventions as effective or ineffective. In total, 50 families from 251 admissions and 65 staff completed the survey. Medical alarms were rated highest (mean ± standard deviation [SD], 4.9 ± 2.1 [2.8-7.0]), followed by noise from medical equipment (mean ± SD, 4.7 ± 2.1 [2.5-6.8]). This response was consistent among PICU providers and families. Suggested interventions to reduce noise included keeping a patient's room door closed, considered effective by 93% of respondents (98% of staff; 88% of families), and designated quiet times, considered effective by 82% (80% of staff; 84% of families). Keeping the patient's door closed was the most effective strategy among survey respondents. Most families and staff considered medical alarms an important contributor to noise level. Because decreasing the volume of alarms such that it cannot be heard is inappropriate, alternative strategies to alert staff of changes in vital signs should be explored.
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