A newly published study from Sweden describes the audible atmosphere of an intensive care unit patient room over a 24-hour period. The study aimed to investigate sound level data and compare patient recollection of the sound environment during the stay.
The study showed that sound levels are exceeding 55dB between 70-90% of the time, which is in contrast to WHO recommendations. Many patients had memories of certain sounds from their care period and some even triggered fears in the patient.
The study originated with the ambition to look for possible correlations between high sound levels and the incidence of ICU delirium, but due to the small sample of patients, it has not been possible to draw any statistically proven conclusion from this particular data. As ICU delirium is a condition linked to high mortality and longer hospital stays further research is needed to clarify this.
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