Patients are enjoying more peaceful nights in Worthing hospital after ward staff made a series of changes designed to stop people suffering disturbed sleep.
The latest results from the ongoing patient surveys run by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundations Trust show the best scores yet in terms of how many people were disturbed by noise at night.
In the last month about 64% of inpatients reported being able to sleep without noticing any noise, compared to fewer than 50% when the surveys first started in early 2012.
The improvement results from changes introduced following feedback from patients, and the efforts of the Trust’s Stakeholder Forum to raise the profile of the issue. The changes aim at reducing the amount of noise made by staff, and also look for ways to create a calmer atmosphere for patients.
In response to the clear message from patients that wards were too noisy, the Trust has:
Run training sessions with staff, which involves a session where they experience being in a darkened room, continually disturbed by phones ringing and other common noises on wards.
Staff have heard personal stories from patients about the frustrations of trying to sleep on a noisy ward.
Improved the care of patients who are confused or have a dementia, making them more relaxed, and so reducing their fear and risk of agitation at night time.
Introduced ‘soft close’ bins, fixed squeaky hinges and wheels.
Redoubled efforts to ensure that drug rounds are completed promptly and all key clinical decisions are taken as early as possible, to avoid the need to move patients between wards after early evening, unless clinically essential.
Recently decided to invest an extra £500,000 a year to increase numbers of nurses on duty at night.
Cathy Stone, Director of Nursing and Patient Safety at the Trust, said: “Realistically, sleeping on an inpatient ward is always going to be more difficult than sleeping in your own home, but the feedback from patients was crystal clear – we could and should do more to help people to enjoy a peaceful night.
“Being disturbed at night is frustrating, but it also leaves people feeling tired and unwell, and less able to recover quickly. I’m pleased to see the improvement so far, but I have no doubt that there is more we could do. We are asking staff to do whatever they can to create a calm and restful environment, while also continually looking for new ways to help patients to avoid feeling agitated or distressed, because that can lead to others on the ward being disturbed.
“We didn’t set up these surveys to reassure ourselves how well we were doing – we set them up to find out more about what patients wanted, and what we needed to change to give patients a better service.”
Pictured: Deputy Sister Helen Herniman at St Richards Hospital, Chichester