Healthcare

HTM 08:01: Why The Acoustics In Hospitals Can Affect Staff Performance

Hospital Acoustics | GP Surgery Noise | Acoustics in Health

In a busy hospital environment, communication and the ability to rest is vital not just for patients but for staff as well.

The acoustic design of a hospital should be optimised for the well being of the staff and patients alike to ensure that staff can perform to their best and to keep the risk of accidents to a minimum.

Prism have been blogging about the importance of acoustics in hospitals and how they can impact on staff performance if they are not up to standard.

Communication

Poorly designed hospitals which are noisier than they should be can affect the way that staff are able to hear each other and patients.

A report by the BBC wrote that there has been an increase in the noise levels in UK hospitals which is resulting in greater “difficulties hearing each other and patients speak [which] compromises the quality and safety of healthcare”.

If a doctor or nurse mishears a patient’s health complaint there is a risk that they could misdiagnose or mistreat based on what they think they’ve heard.

Patients well-being is then put at risk and staff at liable for disciplinaries if there is an impact on patient health as a result.

Similarly, if there isn’t clean communication between staff, mistakes are more likely to be made in patient care, diagnosis and discharge. For patients this could increase the risk of having to return to hospital if miscommunication means they have been sent home too early.

Well being

Research Gate wrote that excessive noise in hospitals can contribute to staff stress levels and negatively impact their well-being both physically and psychologically as they will have to work harder to hear instructions and have to endure higher volumes of noise for long periods of time.  

Staff who cannot rest properly will experience negative impacts to their wellbeing as they will be more heavily fatigued due to not being able to properly recover during rest periods.

 

This can affect their response times and their ability to work under pressure because their will not be able to adapt to situations that can rapidly change in hospitals; particularly in emergency situations. This creates a risk to the patients and to the staff members who could be held accountable for any mistakes that they make as a result.

Properly managed acoustics in hospital mean that staff will be able to communicate better with their colleagues and patients which creates a more effective working environment. This has positive implications for moral as staff are better equipped to deal with the pressures of hospital life.

Conclusion

Hospital acoustics should be properly designed in line with the HTM 08-01 Design Guide to ensure that staff and patients are able to properly communicate with each other.

This reduces the risk of mistakes and misunderstandings that could affect patient treatment and have implications for staff in the form of disciplinaries if problems eschew as a result.

It’s also important to have proper acoustic design in hospitals so that staff well-being can be maintained and managed properly. This means allowing them spaces that allow for rest during breaks so that they can always perform to their best.

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