Have you ever been a patient in an Arizona hospital?
If so, do you have memories of softly drifting into a deep and relaxing sleep that lasted for hours each night, with hospital staff members doing everything they could to dampen noise levels and surrounding distractions?
Didn't think so.
In fact, and to the degree that your hospital experience approximated that of millions of other patients across the country, it was almost certainly marked by an endless cacophony of jarring and discordant sounds. And those were coupled with a seemingly endless interruption of med administrations, blood draws, pokes and prods and … well, more pokes and prods.
You remember it well, don't you? Overhead paging, the beeping of IV monitors, alarm bells going off, nurses talking around you and lights flickering on and off.
Does such an atmosphere adversely impact the healing process for an ailing person who lies helpless and vulnerable in its midst?
Of course it does, and an increasing number of studies are emerging that point out with alacrity the extent to which the distractions inherent in a hospital environment impede patients' healing.
In a recent article on that subject, one MD commentator notes myriad studies showing that "sleep disruptions are prevalent among inpatients and can be associated with negative health outcomes."
That result is instantly troubling for many reasons, including this one: A lack of sleep that delays healing equates to a longer stay in the hospital, which exposes a patient to more risk. It is no secret that hospital-acquired infections are a leading cause of injury to patients across the country.
The above-cited commentator says that a much stronger effort needs to be made to render hospital environments quieter and more restful. Doing so, she says, will "enhance patient healing and humanize the healthcare experience."