Archive for the ‘Nursing News’ Category

Your 5 Senses Directly Impact Your Sleep

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

It’s true. Everything about you impacts the way you sleep and how beneficial that sleep is to your body. Your five senses – hearing, smell, taste, touch, and vision – aren’t just for your waking hours. They impact your health all the time.

The things you see as you prepare for bed need to be calming, not stimulating. Everything from the color of the paint you use on the walls to the artwork you hang can have an impact. You’ll also want to be conscious of outside influences like moonlight, car lights, and street lamps.

The things you taste – like toothpaste or mouthwash – and the things you smell – like your partner – can also send signals to your brain. This is one reason why so many people respond so well to aromatherapy.

The things you touch include your mattress, bedding, sheets, and even your pillows. The textures, fibers, density, and shape can all make a difference.

But that’s not what we find most important here. We are, of course, always concerned with sound. Noises can have a huge impact on your ability to sleep and the lighter you sleep, the more noises can bother you. Do cars drive down your street at night? Does the neighbor have a barking dog? Do you leave the television blaring all night long, like my fiance does? While sound is generally not recommended, I have found a sleep machine that makes white noise helps me to fall asleep.

Outside noises, however, drive me nuts. If you can’t get past the noises, you may need to consider soundproofing by adding extra drywall with green glue or by checking the seals on your doors and windows.

Sleep is critical to your health, so you need to make sure your five senses are all happy and content when your head hits the pillow each night!

Hearing Loss Connected to Hospitalizations

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

According to a study done by Johns Hopkins, individual who have significant hearing loss were more likely to be in a bad mood, suffer from depression, be hospitalized frequently, and suffer from injuries and illness.

The study looked at a sampling of individuals over the age of 70. The group consisted of 1,140 people with hearing problems and over 500 with good hearing.

The concern is that hearing loss can lead to difficulties with other cognitive abilities, especially in the elderly. It impacts their ability to live independently. Previous to this, no one had done a study to determine the impact hearing loss had on the overall use of the healthcare system.

In terms of the study itself, patients sat in a soundproof room. They had to listen to sounds ranging from 0 to 100 decibels. Those who have hearing problems can generally only hear sounds higher than 25 decibels.

The study found that those with hearing loss were more likely to have hear problems. They were also more likely to have longer illnesses and hospital stays.

What does this mean to you? We’re not 100% sure yet, but you should be conscious of the noises you’re exposing yourself to. Preserve your hearing for your future health!

Exploring the Effects of Hospital Noise

Monday, June 17th, 2013

We’ve been talking about hospital noise quite a bit lately. It may seem odd to focus on it so much, but studies are showing that hospital noise has more of an impact than we ever before believed or understood.

According to the NIH, the effects of hospital noise are profound. “The body responds to noise in the same way it responds to stress and overtime can impair health.” We’ve discussed how noise impacts patients in the hospital, but what we haven’t really thought about is how noise impacts the nurses themselves.

Nurses themselves are subjected to the noises from each and every hospital room they visit. They also have alarms, phones, and alert systems at their stations between rooms. In some areas, there have been studies as to the effectiveness of alarms when nurses are dulled to the noise – making them less likely to respond to critical care needs in a timely manner simply because they are no longer processing the sounds. We also have to wonder if the nurses are suffering additional stress throughout their lives simply because of the additional sound exposure.

One thing is for sure. We can’t have silent hospitals. That said, we have to find new ways to ensure nurse and patients can communicate without creating stress – for either.

What do you think?

Decreased Hospital Noise Improves Patient Health

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Anyone who has been in the hospital – for a day or for days on end – knows how difficult it is to get any rest while you’re there. You’re uncomfortable from your illness; you’re hooked up to a ton of machines; and if you are lucky enough to fall asleep, the nurses will wake you up pretty quickly  to take your vitals or do some other type of work with you. Add to that the sound of the machines beeping, voices of hushed conversations, the moaning of other patients, and other odd noises and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

According to this NY TIMES article, that’s exactly how some patients feel. One woman claimed she felt as though she gets sicker when she’s in the hospital because she can’t get any rest. So while the doctors are, in essence, pumping you full of meds to treat your condition, your lack of rest is causing fatigue – which ultimately wears down your immune system. No wonder there are so many hospital born infections.

Those who are sleeping need sleep. Sounds cause changes in their brain patterns, according to studies. And when a patient is jarred out of his sleep, his heart rate automatically rises in response to stress (which also impacts levels of adrenaline). People who are away from home are already stressed and on high alert, so loud noises don’t help – at all.

Recent changes in hospital policy may change the way patients feel. As hospitals build new locations, they’re focused on a few things. Sadly, one of those things is the customer rating system – a system that insurance companies may ultimately be able to use to determine how much to reimburse hospitals for their services. As a result, hospitals are looking to make your stay more comfortable. In places where sharing a room was once common, individual rooms that may leave you wondering if your hospital has installed some soundproofing are now the norm. You’ll hear the sounds of your own machines, but the sounds from other people are more dulled. And yes, your nurse will still have to wake you up, but she won’t wake you up while she’s working with someone else.


Is Hospital Noise Causing Patient Deaths?

Monday, May 6th, 2013

The question seems contradictory, but it’s a valid concern. A recent article in The Huffington Post explored the possibility that noise in hospitals was contributing to patient stress levels – and death counts.

It’s not what you think. The noise it self isn’t causing patient deaths. Can you imagine slowly going crazy from the stress of hearing hospital machines beep hour after hour? (more…)

Nursing Homes Prepare for the Flu

Monday, January 7th, 2013

While nursing homes can be a huge life-saver for families unable to care for their family members, having dozens (or sometimes hundreds) of people beneath the same roof may give some cause for pause – especially when flu season hits.

According to The Patriot News out of Central PA, several Pennsylvania nursing homes, especially those in the Harrisburg area, are preparing for a particularly difficult flu season. There have already been several news reports about this flu season hitting harder than those previous.

The problem in nursing homes is three-fold. The first is the close confines the residents share. If one becomes sick, she may share with her roommates or those she meets in common areas. Even if she doesn’t share her illness via direct contact, the contact she has with nurses who aren’t practicing proper hygiene may act as a conduit.

The second problem is family members and visitors. In the Elizabethtown home in question, Masonic Villages, anyone who steps into the facility who has not had a flu shot must wear a mask when visiting residents. Those who have had the flu are cautioned not to visit until they’ve been fever-free for a full 24-hour period.

Finally, the nurses and caregivers themselves may become an issue. While most healthcare facilities have not in the past required workers to have a flu shot, there is now a precedent in other areas. Can you imagine being told that if you refuse a flu shot you’ll be fired from your job?

Right now, the staff at the Masonic Villages home is receiving preventative Tamiflu. If given within 24-48 hours of exposure or the onset of symptoms, it is believed that Tamiflu can prevent or decrease the severity of flu symptoms.

So what do you think? Is there really any way to prevent the flu – or any other virus – from spreading? Is it fair to force healthcare workers to take a flu shot? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Patients assaulted by Noise

Monday, October 24th, 2011

In a great in depth study by Herman Milller the effect of noise on patients healthcare is surprisingly interesting and bothersome. Interesting in how much noise actually effects the mental and physical health driving home the point we have been blogging about again and again, that noise is a real pollution. And bothersome due to the fact as to how far technology in the health care sector has come and yet this simple idea of constructing sound proof rooms is largely ignored. One of the reasons is because a proper soundproofing company needs to be contacted before the construction and rehab of any health care facility. Hopefully the above mentioned article will bring us a step closer to getting it done the correct way.

Nursing Homes Under Fire

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Nursing homes in the UK are finding under fire as new inspection standards go into place. Staff working for nursing homes in the UK will have to register with the newly created “Health and Care Workers Professions Council” and will be required to undergo testing.

Homes that don’t comply with the new procedures run the risk of losing all of their public funding – a risk none are willing to take in this economy. Not only are nursing homes now worried about sound proofing and internal standards of care, but they now have the government eyeballing them as well.

4 Hartford Area Nursing Homes to Close

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Last week a Hartford court recommended the closing of 4 nursing homes in and around the Hartford area. The four homes in the ruling are owned by Omega Healthcare Investors and have fallen under the management of the Genesis Healthcare group for the past few years.

The homes were originally owned by Haven Healthcare, a group that went bankrupt in 2008. The judge determined that the homes, which lost $6.5 million in 2009, could not recover and would have even greater losses if they were able to repay their debts.

The residents are to be moved to new homes and after that the homes will close.

Nursing Shortages Cause Deaths

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

According to a report published by the Mayo Clinic and its partners, facilities with high patient turnover rates and not enough personnel on the nursing staff are likely to have higher patient death levels.

The study has fueled a debate about the ratio of nurse-to-patient staffing that exists in many facilities. Some believe that there should be state or federal laws mandating a minimum acceptable level. The state of California has already begun instituting such a change, and a few other states are about to follow.

It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter how nice or soundproof a facility is. If there isn’t enough staff, things can definitely go awry very quickly.