Great Design Can Help Overcome Sleep Disturbances in Hospitals

Posted by on Jul 24, 2019 in Behind the Design
Great Design Can Help Overcome Sleep Disturbances in Hospitals

Have you ever been a patient in a hospital? If so, you can sympathize with this article. One of the hardest things to do is to get a good night’s sleep. More often than not, patients are jarred awake several times a night by the staff making their rounds, their roommate and their tv, family or care team, medical equipment alarms, overhead announcements, conversations between staff and noise flooding in from the hallway. Great healthcare design can help overcome sleep disturbances in hospitals.

Research has shown how important sleep is to mental and physical health, and that a peaceful environment is important to the healing process. Noise not only disrupts patient healing, but it is also a common source of patient dissatisfaction. In 2016, St. Elizabeth Hospital implemented a few noise cutting design techniques and their patient satisfaction scores sored. So much so that they went from the 55th to the 90th percentile in a patient survey score asking if they would recommend the hospital.

Design Techniques to Reduce Noise

  • Sound reducing materials may be chosen for walls, ceilings, and floors
  • Sound blocking walls extended to the ceiling and constructed to reduce sound transfer between rooms
  • Seals on glass windows and doors
  • Blinds, curtains, and drapes that absorb sound and act as a barrier
  • Anti slam doors and cupboards in the patient rooms
  • Door hardware that opens and latches quietly
  • Private patient rooms if possible
  • Decentralized nurses stations

The bottom line is that many aspects can be addressed when looking to reduce noise levels in hospitals, from layout, materials used and efforts to promote a quiet environment. Reducing noise helps patients heal and improves overall outcome.

Marie Wikoff is the creator of Wikoff Design Studio based out of Reno, Nevada. Her expertise in healthcare design has helped modernize healthcare organizations locally, regionally, and internationally, improving patient experience and outcomes. Her credentials include Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC), American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designer (CHID), the National Council of Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) and LEED AP. Contact Marie Wikoff


“St. Elizabeth Hospital Reduces Noise and Patient Complaints after Sound Study.” Health Facilities Management,

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