Information Articles

Highland’s Efforts Lead the Way to Reduce Noise

A story in the Democrat and Chronicle highlighted the work local hospitals are doing to ensure patients are healing in a quiet environment. Highland Hospital is proud to be leading the Rochester community.Quite poster

Highland has implemented initiatives in the past 12 months that have produced a steady increase in its patient satisfaction scores for quietness, as determined by the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey.

From July through September 2012, Highland reached 60.7 percent under the category, “Quietness of the hospital environment.” That is a 7-point increase compared with the same time period last year!

“We have come to realize that this very important patient satisfier needs to be a constant focus,” said Kara Halstead, Director of Service Excellence and Physician Liaison.

Highland began a detailed effort to create a quiet environment in 2011, as well as joined a UHC collaborative for eight months that same year to share information and best practices with other hospitals. This coincided with the launching of our SHHH! Campaign that consisted of messaging to staff, patients and visitors about efforts to create a quiet environment.

“We set an expectation with patients and staff that we are trying to keep it as quiet as possible for the benefit of those in the hospital,” Halstead said. “We also made available numerous aids to help the staff and patients control any noise.”

Some of the aids included providing headphones for use with TVs in semi-private rooms, distributing earplugs, placing bumpers on doors and silencing security/combination locks. Overhead messages are delivered at 8 p.m. to remind everyone in the hospital that quiet time has begun. Posters, table cards and “Do Not Disturb” door signs also were created.

In November, Highland began conducting noise audits five nights a week in which managers and directors rounded on floors and recorded instances and situations where noise was a problem. Auditing has since been turned over to the night nurse supervisors.

“I audited twice and the improvement in just a four-month period was noticeable,” said Jim Tempest, Manager of Rehabilitation Services. “I saw that most lights had been dimmed in halls during my April audit and even though there was a lot of activity in the hospital, the noise level was down and it was mostly quiet.

“If I had been a patient on any unit at that time I would have gotten a good night’s rest.”

Halstead and Tempest said it would be hard to credit the improvement to any specific thing, but both agreed that the consistent application of protocols and continued messaging was having a positive effect.

“We’re staying the course because what we’ve been doing is working,” Halstead said.

“Ultimately, among all of the wonderful programs and services we are known for, I would also love for Highland to be thought of in this community as the quiet hospital.”    


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Barbara Ficarra
Director of Public Relations
(585) 341-6210