Minimizing disruption, maximizing sleep in the hospital

While various alarms and check-ins are a part of the necessary patient care when staying overnight at a hospital, health systems are aware of the burdens such noise can cause. Today, top hospitals are tirelessly trying to find unique ways to combat disruptions and improve sleep.

Relaxed patient asleep in a hospital bed.

Sleep is important for everyone, but it is especially important for a patient’s recovery process.

“Sleep and circadian rhythms likely serve many different, yet vital functions. From helping to regulate inflammation to growing new cells important for recovery to rest for the nervous system. It’s not just the brain, but cells everywhere in your body may benefit from sleep,” explains Sigrid Veasey, a professor of sleep medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine.

At Penn Medicine, the development of the Pavilion at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) created a unique opportunity to take on the challenge of sleep disruption in hospitals.

“Every single design choice for the Pavilion was made with the patient in mind,” says Kathryn Gallagher, who spent most of her 35 years at Penn Medicine as a surgical critical care nurse and nurse manager, before becoming a clinical liaison helping to plan the design and transition to the new building. “When it comes to the patient experience, we know that being able to get enough rest is incredibly important. Noise reduction, especially at night, and patient comfort are paramount in the Pavilion’s design.”

In addition to sourcing ideas from the PennFIRST design and construction management team—including the global healthcare design expertise of HDR—the Pavilion team spoke with Penn physicians, nurses, quality experts, and patients to try to make the patient spaces as comfortable as possible.

“We took feedback from simulations, design expertise, patients, and more to build around decreasing patient challenges, including sleep issues. It’s all about minimizing noise, increasing comfort, providing natural light, and a quiet environment to reduce disruptions, and promote sleep” Gallagher shares.

Read more at Penn Medicine News.