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Levels and sources of sound in the intensive care unit: an observational study of three room types
Department of Anesthesiology, Surgical Sciences and Intensive Care Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3748-899X
Department of Anesthesiology, Surgical Sciences and Intensive Care Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm.
Department of Anesthesiology, Surgical Sciences and Intensive Care Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm.
Department of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm.
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2013 (English)In: Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica, ISSN 0001-5172, E-ISSN 1399-6576, Vol. 57, no 8, 1041-1050 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

Many intensive care unit (ICU) patients describe noise as stressful and precluding sleep. No previous study in the adult setting has investigated whether room size impacts sound levels or the frequency of disruptive sounds.

Methods

A-frequency S-time weighted equivalent continuous sound (LASeq), A-frequency S-time weighted maximum sound level (LASmax) and decibel C peak sound pressure (LCpeak) were measured during five 24-h periods in each of the following settings: three-bed room with nursing station (NS) alcove, single-bed room with NS alcove (1-BR with NSA) and single-bed room with bedside NS. Cumulative restorative time (CRT) (> 5 min with LASmax < 55 dB and LCpeak < 75 dB) was calculated to describe calm periods. Two 8-h bedside observations were performed in each setting in order to note the frequency and sources of disruptive sounds.

Results

Mean sound pressure levels (LASeq) ranged between 52 and 58 dBA, being lowest during night shifts. There were no statistically significant differences between the room types in mean sound levels or in CRT. However, disruptive sounds were 40% less frequent in the 1-BR with NSA than in the other settings. Sixty-four percent of disruptive sounds were caused by monitor alarms and conversations not related to patient care.

Conclusions

Single-bed rooms do not guarantee lower sound levels per se but may imply less frequent disruptive sounds. Sixty-four percent of disruptive sounds were avoidable. Our findings warrant sound reducing strategies for ICU patients.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 57, no 8, 1041-1050 p.
Keyword [en]
intensive care unit, room size, sound levels
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:rkh:diva-707DOI: 10.1111/aas.12138PubMedID: 23750596OAI: oai:DiVA.org:rkh-707DiVA: diva2:642296
Available from: 2013-08-21 Created: 2013-08-21 Last updated: 2015-01-13Bibliographically approved

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