Baptist Easley implements Quiet Time to help healing

EASLEY — Baptist Easley will implement a hospital-wide Quiet Time, a period of time designed to promote optimal healing for all patients, in early March. Because adequate rest is an essential component of the recovering process, Quiet Time will occur daily for all medical/surgical and critical care patients from 2 – 3:30 pm.

An overhead message announces the beginning of Quiet Time, and patients are invited to tune into the hospital’s 24-hour free relaxation channel. During the Quiet Time period, nurses and other medical personnel avoid unnecessary interruptions to patients. Nurses check each patient prior to the onset of Quiet Time to answer any needs. Lights are dimmed and patients’ doors are closed (if safe and acceptable to the patient). Cell phones and pagers are set on vibrate and there is no overhead paging. Transport of patients occurs using the front elevator only and the “shortest route” to ensure that quietness is maintained. During Quiet Time, we encourage that visitation be limited to the care partner unless otherwise requested by the patient.

“Baptist Easley has been observing Quiet Time on our Birthplace since August. We wanted to take this initiative hospital-wide to provide a dedicated time for our patients to rest. Quiet Time helps staff better understand how respecting noise levels improves patient outcomes, while creating a more productive work environment,” said Mary Ann Hunter, Chief Nursing Officer.

Studies show that decreased noise levels aid in healing and recovery. Disturbed sleep can affect a patient’s ability to heal. Excess noise can increase gastric acid secretion, stimulate the cardiovascular system, and impair the ability to fight infections. A healing environment requires both a physical surrounding that is conducive to rest, as well as an organizational culture that supports patients and families amid the stresses imposed by hospitalization. (Christensen, M. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 2005)

Efforts to ensure a quiet environment at all times include using voices lowered, and minimizing conversation in patient care areas and hallways, and observing the ‘Shhh!” signs posted in the hospital.

“This time will not be 100 percent uninterrupted,” said Hunter.  Patient care supersedes Quiet Time.  Labs will be drawn, tests will be completed, patients will be admitted and discharged. The focus will be to maintain a quiet as possible environment while these things continue.”