Acoustical Consulting for a Happier Healthcare Experience
Acoustical consulting combines the science of acoustics (how sound behaves in a space) with an understanding of architecture and the habits of the people who work within a particular place. It is used to help create workspaces that are pleasant to be in and which enable those working in them to be efficient, productive, and happy. This is particularly important in a healthcare setting. At Avant Acoustics, our team of experts can provide the services needed to ensure that your patients enjoy an environment that is conducive to healing, as well as protecting their privacy.
If you’ve ever been in the hospital overnight, you may have joked about how glad you were to come home so you could get some sleep. You’re not alone! Aside from the care team waking them up every few hours to check your vitals, the array of monitors, machines, and people that patients encounter in a healthcare facility can make it a very noisy place. Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, once said that “Unnecessary noise is the most cruel abuse of care which can be inflicted on either the sick or the well.” Beeping monitors and other loud medical equipment, as well as conversations among staff, patients and visitors can all be disruptive. Add in food service and maintenance teams and their equipment and there is even more noise!
Ms. Nightingale is not alone in her assessment. According to the Center for Health Design
“Healthcare quality surveys report patient sleep disruption from noise as a very common and serious complaint.” Missing sleep is not just annoying, it can have a wide variety of adverse effects on patient health including increased blood pressure, pain, inflammation and stress levels. Acoustical consulting can help healthcare providers design spaces that are quieter and more conducive to rest, sleep and healing.
Privacy is also a concern for both patients and caregivers. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA
) of 1996 enacted standards for patient privacy in the United States. Among these are rules that require caregivers to enact reasonable measures to safeguard patients against incidental disclosures of their private health information. An example of an incidental disclosure would be a doctor and a nurse discussing a patient’s condition outside a hospital room, within hearing of other patients or visitors. Though their conversation is absolutely necessary to the care of the patient, it would be better conducted in an environment that is designed to minimize such sounds.
The same is true of conversations between patients and their caregivers. Patients may be less likely to have conversations about their private health concerns if they feel that they can be overheard by other patients or staff. A noisy and disruptive environment
can also contribute to increased stress for healthcare workers, reducing efficiency and increasing the likelihood of mistakes such as medication errors. Through the use of acoustical consulting, healthcare facilities such as doctors’ offices and hospitals can determine what changes need to be made to the patient environment to address these issues.
Avant Acoustics has more than a half century of experience in acoustical consulting, architectural acoustics and the design and implementation of communications and sound masking
systems. We serve clients across the United States and around the world. Whether in a doctor’s office in Boston or a hospital in Chicago or Los Angeles, we have the experience and expertise to help you design healthcare spaces with the quiet, calming environment your patients need to heal, while ensuring privacy and confidentiality. Call us at (913) 888-9111 or use our online contact form
to get in touch. We look forward to helping you make life better for your patients, staff and visitors.