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Clinical Articles, Lead Article

Better ‘light and sound’ may improve recovery in ICU

New solutions for improving the hospital environment, based on controlling the levels of noise and lighting to maximise positive effects on patients’ experiences, were presented by Philips at this year’s Medica Trade Fair, held recently in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Background noise in ICUs

Initial results from Philips’ Clear Mind project show that almost two-thirds of non-patient-related noise in an intensive care units (ICUs) comes from hospital staff and just one-third comes from the life-saving machinery. Background noise disturbs patients’ quality of sleep, while high noise levels can disrupt the healing process and contribute to delirium, according to the presentation.

Philips is exploring approaches that give healthcare staff feedback on the negative effects of noise and advice on preventing unnecessarily loud noises as they go about their daily activities. Background noise is to be analysed automatically to provide immediate feedback when noise levels get too high, with the source of the noise – for example people talking, alarms sounding, objects falling – identified so that appropriate action can be recommended.

“This new approach has the potential to improve the recovery process for patients,” explains Dr Thomas Falck, Principal Scientist at Philips Research in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. “As a result, it will be possible, for example, to reduce the amount of time patients have to stay in hospital, which in turn will help reduce costs.”

Improving patient experience and clinical outcomes

Philips has previously developed the Ambient Experience solution, which uses dynamic light, video and sound to create a calming and relaxing environment for patients in a diagnostics room. Patients can select and control theme-based images, the color and intensity of the light plus audio and video content. So far, 650 of these systems have been sold worldwide, for us in diagnostics, treatment and therapy rooms.

At the beginning of last year, Philips introduced its HealWell patient-room lighting system for hospital wards, which automatically simulates the rhythm of daylight in order to support patients’ natural pattern of sleep and waking. Now, with lighting representing an enormous energy and cost factor for medical establishments, Philips is presenting the first version of HealWell based completely on energy-efficient LEDs.

Published on: December 20, 2013

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