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Improved acoustics reduce risks in Healthcare premises

“It seems likely that improved acoustic conditions reduce risks of conflicts and errors.”
This is just one of the main messages from the research made in a coronary care unit in Sweden.

The study points out the importance of further research on possible effects of acoustics in healthcare on staff turnover, quality of patient care, and medical errors.

Acoustic measurements have been performed by Ingemansson Technology AB. This study was partly funded by Ecophon.

SUMMARY OF CONTENT
Aims:
To examine the influence of different acoustic conditions on the work environment and the staff in a coronary critical care unit (CCU).
Method:
Psychosocial work environment data from start and end of each individual shift were obtained from three shifts (morning, afternoon, and night) for a one-week baseline period and for two four-week periods during which either sound reflecting or sound absorbing tiles were installed.
Further results show:
– Reverberation times and speech intelligibility improved during the study period when the ceiling tiles were
changed from sound reflecting tiles to sound absorbing ones of identical appearance.
– Improved acoustics positively affected the work environment.
– The staff reported lower work demands and decreased pressure and strain.
The research concludes that important gains in the psychosocial work environment of healthcare premises can be achieved by improving room acoustics.
Earlier in Acoustic Bulletin, we communicated the outcomes of this psychosocial environmental research.
The OEM webjournal, an international peer review journal in all aspects of occupational & environmental medicine,
now has a free full text article available online.

Healthcare Environments 150

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