A good night’s sleep has been prescribed for patients at Walsall Manor Hospital with the launch of The Quiet Protocol aimed at making their evenings more restful and relaxed.
The Quiet Protocol has been introduced following feedback through Patient Experience surveys which showed that patients are often having trouble falling and staying asleep due to noisy and often too bright environments. This can have a real impact on their recovery.
A noisy environment is also detrimental to staff as it can make communication difficult and amplify work pressures which means an increased chance of errors being made.
Wards now start a wind down at 9pm-10pm taking the last evening round as an opportunity to better prepare patients for a peaceful evening; checking their pain levels and positioning needs, providing oral care and making ear plugs and eye masks available if requested.
Karen Dunderdale, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Director of Nursing, said: “Wards can be noisy places with slamming doors, banging bins, telephones ringing, TVs or radios on until late, monitoring devices and admissions arriving through the night.
“The Quiet Protocol aims to reduce this and make everyone mindful of others’ needs. Sleep-deprived patients aren’t able to fully process information given to them by hospital staff and this can affect their progress once they’re discharged as it can be harder for them to keep to their medication plan or follow their doctor’s advice. It’s not difficult to see how this could lead to a deterioration in their health and a hospital re-admission that they don’t want.
“While wards will never be silent we can work together to reduce the noise in the interests of everyone – patients and staff. So we’re reducing controllable noises by asking staff to speak softly, turn their pagers or bleeps on to the lowest settings and dimming lights as a visual reminder. Patient alarms and monitors will be on the lowest safe levels, patients will be asked to use TV headsets to avoid disturbing others and to take phone calls away from their beds wherever possible.
“We’re also asking carers, families and visitors to support this – quiet hospitals help healing.”
Louise Mabley, Lead for Patient Experience, added: “The Patient Experience team collaborated with senior nursing colleagues to conduct a night-time audit to understand the causes better. Based on results from this audit and patient feedback, the Quiet Protocol was co-produced with patients and ward staff aiming to make sleep time quieter and restful for all.”
The protocol is initiated from 11pm to 6am when all staff are encouraged to reduce controllable noise.