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Jo Kidd healthtalk.org, 15th June 2017

healthtalk.org helping reduce noise in intensive care

healthtalk.org video clips have played a key role in work to reduce noise in intensive care units, that was featured today on ITV news.

Several studies have shown that sounds levels in hospitals regularly exceed the maximum recommended levels by the World Health Organisation and noise in intensive care units (ICUs) are comparable with a busy restaurant. It is thought that this contributes to poor sleep for patients and impacts badly on recovery time.

The SILENCE study is being led by University of Oxford colleagues Lisa Hinton and Julie Darbyshire and is taking place at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford. This research project aims to find out whether various training acitivites can help ICU staff to take steps to reduce noise levels, including a taking part in a simulation of what it is like to be a patient in intensive care and watching a 'trigger' film of patient stories from healthtalk.org. The trigger film features excerpts of interviews with people who have formerly been patients in ICU, sharing their experiences of how it felt to be in the unit and is designed to prompt staff to think about how they could improve noise levels in their ward.

Early reports are that staff found the activites useful and motivated them to change their practice. Reportedly noise levels have already started to come down by 3 or 4 decibels.

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