Evaluating hospital soundscapes to improve patient experience.

Link to article at PubMed

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Evaluating hospital soundscapes to improve patient experience.

J Acoust Soc Am. 2019 Feb;145(2):1117

Authors: Bliefnick JM, Ryherd EE, Jackson R

Hospital soundscapes can be difficult environments to assess acoustically due to alarms, medical equipment, and the continuous activity within units. Routinely, patients perceive these soundscapes to be poor when rating their hospital experience on HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) surveys administered after discharge. In this study, five hospital units of widely varying HCAHPS "quietness" performance were analyzed. Sound pressure levels were measured in 15 patient rooms and 5 nursing stations over 24-h periods. HCAHPS "quietness of the hospital environment" patient survey data were correlated with measured acoustical data at a room-level, revealing acoustical metrics linked to patient perceptions of hospital soundscape conditions. Metrics found to be statistically correlated (p < 0.05) included the absolute LAMIN levels in patient rooms, which found significantly higher HCAHPS quietness scores in units with average LAMIN levels below 35 dBA, in addition to specific low frequency octave bands and occurrence rates. Many other standard acoustical metrics (such as LAEQ, LAMAX, LCPEAK, and LA90) were not found to be statistically correlated between measured acoustical data and HCAHPS quietness patient responses. Taken as a whole, this study provides insights into the potential relationships between hospital noise and patient satisfaction.

PMID: 30823810 [PubMed - in process]

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