10 Jun, 2019 | Written by Premis

Reducing Noise Levels in Hospitals Through Design

We all know hospitals can be noisy.  It’s a 24/7 environment and there’s usually lots going on – monitoring systems, people moving through corridors and countless conversations.

Recent research has shown that noisy hospital environments can impact patients’ recovery rates, and in some cases lengthen hospital stays.  Staff members can also be impacted by this type of environment and this could impact employee productivity and efficiency.

While the constant activity - and the sounds - of a hospital environment can’t be eliminated, there are a number of design strategies that can be applied to prevent, manage and absorb excessive noise levels.

Consider Your Layout

Increasing the distance between patients and the sources of noise is one way to minimise disturbance.   If you locate patient rooms away from high-traffic areas, ensure that rooms don’t directly face each other and shorten hallways, you could effectively prevent or limit noise travelling down corridors.

Decentralising nurses’ stations and patient support areas will also ease noise levels, as there are fewer groups of staff and less movement of equipment through corridors.  If this is not an option, you could add enclosed spaces near the stations to lessen the noise of staff conversations.

Create Separation Between Patients in Shared Rooms

Consider adding noise-reducing curtains or movable sound-absorbent screens between patients.   This can cut down on noise levels as well as providing privacy for all patients within the room.  Screens could also feature a glazed upper section for staff to view others in the room while attending to a patient.

Sound-absorbing Materials

There are many ways to incorporate sound-absorbing materials within a hospital. 

  • Sound-absorbing ceiling tiles with anti-microbial linings can be used throughout the building and be supplemented by sound-absorbent wall panels in hallways.
  • Hard-wearing flooring choices with good acoustic properties can also make a big impact.
    • Carpet tiles are a popular choice due to their resilience and attractive appearance, however, their use is typically restricted to general circulation areas of a hospital, such as reception areas and corridors.

Environmental Policies

Consider implementing environmental policies that alleviate noise levels such as:

  • Signage
    • Posting signs reminding staff, patients and visitors to consider their voice levels.
  • Designated quiet times
    • Allocating multiple quiet times throughout the day and dimming lights in the evening can all go a long way in contributing to noise control.

Learn More

At Premis Solutions, we have extensive experience refurbishing hospital environments.

Contact us today to discuss your next hospital refurbishment project

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