NJ hospitals trying to help patients sleep
It is a healthcare paradox. You are admitted to a hospital for treatment and rest, but you cannot get any sleep because they keep waking you up.
Nurses and other health care providers are monitoring vital signs, changing IVs and checking patient conditions on a consistent basis during a patient's stay. The problem is it can be disturbing when patients are trying to get rest.
New Jersey hospital officials said facilities are working on ways to reduce sleep interruptions.
"We know that this can be a source of frustration for patients who feel that they are constantly getting that vital sign check," said Kerry McKean Kelly, spokeswoman for the New Jersey Hospital Association.
She said from a health care perspective they need to find the right balance between the responsibility to stay on top of the patient's condition, but also give the patient the proper rest.
And while striking the right balance between patient care and comfort can be a daunting task, some Garden State hospitals are trying to address it.
Some of the things that New Jersey hospitals are doing to address the issue include just working and being very sensitive to creating an overall restful environment, especially in the evening and overnight hours.
According to McKean Kelly, hospitals are implementing initiatives like dimming lights and eliminating overhead announcements on the pager system. Some hospitals are providing soothing music options in patient rooms.
Bundling care is also another way more hospitals are helping patients get sleep. In an effort to minimize the disruption when they have to interrupt a patient's rest, hospitals are trying to take care of everything at one time, for example, administering medication and doing a blood pressure check.
Another avenue being explored at some hospitals toward improving patient comfort is single-patient rooms.
"It reduces the disruptions of hospitals and staff from having a roommate. More hospitals now have private rooms for patients and that is also a help," McKean Kelly said.
As an added bonus, it also reduces the risk of patient infection.
While special care is taken at hospitals in the overnight hours, more and more medical facilities are incorporating these same ideas into quiet breaks in the daytime hours as well, according to McKean Kelly.